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.





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Friday, 18 November 2016

ADDICTS NEED TREATMENT; NOT FINES

If ever there was an example of the futility of dealing with addicts in a court setting it was demonstrated by the well meaning but pious words of the chairman of the bench at Furness Magistrates` Court earlier this week.

2 comments:

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  2. Crafty, but I suspect futire, bit of advertising there!
    More seriously, it does show how careful court chairmen and judges have to be before they open their mouths in court; less is generally better.
    That said, drunk and disorderly offenders are tedious, waste police and court time and block up police cells; courts are quite unable to do anything to alter their behaviour as only a small fine is available as a penalty. Most towns will have a number of very regular customers and nine times out of ten the fine will be deemed served by the time spent (usually overnight)in custody - for the main reason that the prospect of the fine being paid is minimal as they will already be having the maximum deduction from benefits.
    I think some prosecuting authorities have experimented with using old common law vagrancy acts to up the ante (can't remember offhand exactly which) but I suspect many courts will see that as equally impotent: probation can offer nothing which deals with the causes of their behaviour and imprisonment is seen as entirely disproportionate to the offense even in habitual offenders.
    So I agree with JP: addicts need something other than court. Unfortunately that will cost money so will not happen.

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