Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.




Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

TREATMENT; NOT PUNISHMENT



We all know that tradition tells us that there are seven deadly sins……no more; no less.   Judeo Christian morality is based upon ten commandments……not nine or eleven and it is a much quoted maxim that there are only seven stories in fiction and that all others are based upon them.  In similar fashion of there being very few basic tenets underlying criminal activity alcohol and/or drug dependence account for around 70% of all crimes committed.  Considering the cost in tax payer pounds and individual misery for those and their families  involved it is  a blight on our society that the most that can be said for government policies is that at least they don`t exacerbate the problem. Every day in every magistrates` court benches are  faced with impoverished and often homeless alcoholics who commit petty theft with or without violence to   achieve their requisite daily level of inebriation.  The probation services offer various alcohol treatment programmes but as is well known abstinence, the only long term  treatment,  requires a willingness on behalf of the  drinker to embrace lifelong sobriety.  Only too often that willingness is lacking and repetitive criminal behaviour does what it says on the lid; it repeats.  A perfect example of society`s impotence in this regard is reported in the Grantham Journal but  every local newspaper features similar stories with unfailing regularity.  And like the proverbial iceberg most crimes with an alcohol input go unreported and undiscovered somewhere in the myriad of government statistics.   

The Mental Health Act allows forced confinement to specialised units for those whose behaviour is a danger to themselves and/or others.  There are many provisions within the legislation to ensure that use of this onerous power is justified.  On appropriate occasions this allows certain offenders to be deviated from the criminal justice system to the NHS.  I am firmly of the opinion that similar provision should be available for those suffering from alcoholism when that affliction brings them, as it so often does, into conflict with law and order.  The initial costs would be but a drop in the ocean compared with the long term savings of pounds and people. 

1 comment:

  1. A scant report from the Grantham Journal there - of course there was a time when this sort of offence (with extensive history) would trigger a PSR and a recommendation for a Probation Order - sorry Community Order - the good old days eh?,,,,,cut my teeth on cases like this and almost certainly underlying emotional issues - but we don't do that anymore.............................

    ReplyDelete