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, 21 July 2017

BENCHES ARE NOT HANGERS AND FLOGGERS

There are single issue lobbyists financed often by wealthy individuals whose purpose in life, in addition to their salaries, is to discredit the benefit of short custodial sentences whilst at the same time to manipulate statistics to indicate that such sentences are failing, expensive and no deterrent to offenders. In addition magistrates are often accused of being too ready to sentence recidivists to immediate custody notwithstanding guidelines being followed. This case earlier this week before Swindon magistrates is an example of what really happens at every similar court every day countrywide. Benches go out of their way, sometimes in defiance of guidelines, to avoid sending offenders to immediate custody.  Indeed such decisions often bring unwelcome criticism from members of the public insofar as they are seen to be "too soft".  With the latest report on the utterly appalling conditions in our prisons a prison sentence must be a test of strength, mental and physical, for many in order to have a chance of rehabilitation. The absolute incompetence of successive Justice Secretaries since 2010 with the possible exemption of Michael Gove, has been a prime cause.  Predictable problems with interpreters, legal aid, probation service, prison officers, police have all contributed to the current position with Theresa May`s six years at the Home Office as much a failure as her colleagues` debacle at Petty France. There`s austerity and there`s foolhardiness.

When a population loses confidence in all that comprises a justice system black clouds on the horizon are just a pre cursor to a storm ahead.

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