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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 5 January 2015

THINK TANK






It never fails to amuse this blogger when those with but faint knowledge of what they`re discussing proceed to tell the we plebs just how we should tackle some problem or other.  When that subject is connected however closely or remotely to the justice system and those opining in all their smugness from secretary of state to intellectual so called policy advisors or think tank operatives I must admit that despair soon overtakes an urge to laugh out loud.

 Kevin Lockyer in the cloak of PolicyExchange is a fair example in his essay on a proposal for conditional behaviour orders. He writes inter alia:-
·     
          "Punishment for breaching probation is not handed out until 5 weeks after the breach has taken place and the average time elapsed from committing the breach to completion can take up to 53 working days.
·         Currently first time breaches of Orders usually result in a warning from a probation officer, and further breaches are left to their discretion. Only after multiple breaches and significant time delays is an offender likely to be brought before the court and receive a punishment. "

My own experience does not bear out his comments above.  My impression is that offenders appear within a week or two at the most after an alleged breach and punishment is immediate whether it is an increase in the severity of a community requirement or an additional disposal.  In my area there is no tolerance subsequent to a second breach.  He continues, Under the new swift and certain system, between 6,000 and 8,500 could receive short prison sentences over the course of a year.  Under current guidelines courts in England and Wales are discouraged from handing out custodial sentences.”



Guidelines do not discourage custodial sentences.  They direct sentencers to follow a fairly detailed structure to arrive at their disposal but there is well recognised provision for judges and magistrates to deviate from said structural result provided they make their reasons plain in open court.  From day one of this government Kenneth Clarke made it abundantly clear that prison was to be used as punishment only for those most deserving.  The prison population is and has been for some time at near maximum capacity.  It seems perverse to think that this or any other government is going to sanction any increase in the prison population in the near future.










Population and Capacity Briefing for Friday 02/01/2015










Total

Prisons
NOMS Operated IRCs


Population
84,628

83,287
1,341


Male population
80,822

79,481
1,341


Female population

3,806
0









Useable Operational Capacity
88,116

86,556
1,560









Home Detention Curfew caseload
2,159












Definitions:













1 - The Operational Capacity of a Prison / Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) is the total number of prisoners that an establishment can hold taking into account control, security and the proper operation of the planned regime. It is determined by Deputy Directors of Custody on the basis of operational judgement and experience.









2 - Useable Operational Capacity of the estate is the sum of all establishments’ operational capacity less 2,000 places. This is known as the operating margin and reflects the constraints imposed by the need to provide separate accommodation for different classes of prisoner i.e. by sex, age, security category, conviction status, single cell risk assessment and also due to geographical distribution.









Population and Capacity on previous Fridays










Last week

12 months ago



Population
Data not available

83,962



Male population
Data not available

80,176



Female population
Data not available

3,786










Useable Operational Capacity
Data not available

85,953










Home Detention Curfew caseload
Data not available

2,438








 

1 comment:

  1. Something must be done; this is something; we must do it.

    ReplyDelete