Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I recently read an article about Rikers Jail in New York . For anyone who thinks of jails as a soft option, the reality of this article is sobering. It also demonstrates that we have a confusion between the function of jails as holding pens for criminals, but then fill them with inmates with mental health problems. We need to evolve better models, to provide the appropriate place for the career criminal and those with problems. I suspect the prison for career criminals would be small.
Justice France realised this when he sentenced in the recent case over the maketu curse, and despite Trevor Mallard's intemperate response, the result shows both mercy, and recognition of the unusual nature of the case. Jail simply would not achieve anything for the family, who are no doubt struggling to understand their own actions. But, they did receive substantial sentences of community work, which is not an easy option.

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