Punishment – 1

Over the years I have watched as people convicted of a crime who have been sentenced to prison for varying numbers of years, which often has no bearing to the crime committed and usually with little or no rehabilitation of prisoners or proper care of the victims.  One example of a crime which seems to value life very little is when a drunk driver kills another person and only gets a few years imprisonment.  On the other extreme, someone who burgles a house can get up to 6 years in prison.

To me, all crime should have a starting point of whether it is a crime against a’ life’ or against ‘property’.  ‘Life’ crimes should involve properly controlled imprisonment (with exceptions) and ‘property’ crimes should involve very strict community work (with exceptions).  The worse the crime, the longer the sentence.  There should also be a ‘restorative justice’ part to all crimes, where possible, to partly help in bringing closure to the victims and/or their families and the seriousness of the offence to the perpetrators.

Here is a suggested table of sentencing:

Category of Crime What is Included Sentencing
Prison Community Finance
Human Murder 1 Intentional Killing 25-75 years per person* £50,000 per person***
Murder 2 Defensive Killing  up to 10 years
Murder 3 Accidental Killing  Nil
Violence 1 Intentional Violence inc psychological abuse or driving under influence of drugs or drink or child abuse 10-15 years per person* £25,000 per person***
Violence 2 Defensive Violence  ?
Violence 3 Accidental Violence  Nil
Violence 4 Accidental Violence – malpractice leading to disability 5-10 years See separate table for rates
Violence 5 Accidental Violence – eg car accidents leading to disability  5-10
Slavery 1 Criminal Kidnapping  10 years
Slavery 2 State Kidnapping  10 years
Theft 1 Any Buildings inc cons 15-10 years** Compensation based on value of property******
Theft 2 Any Finances inc cons 10-15 years** As above
Theft 3 Any Items inc cons 5-10 years** As above
Legal 1 Not covered by Insurance
Legal 2 Not following Health and Safety inc state of vehicles  2-3 years
Legal 3 Not covered by Warranty  2-3 years
Legal 4 Does not have appropriate Legal Documents eg TV Licence; Driving Licence  2-3 years and licence taken away for that period
Legal 4 Copyright Infringements  1 year
Offences Against the State 1  Depends whether lives are put at risk  ?  ?
Illegal Selling & Buying 1 Drugs inc Alcohol and Cigarettes  10 years
Illegal Selling & Buying 2 Sex  10-15 years*
Illegal Selling & Buying Goods – by individuals, gangs or the State  5 years
Libel 1 Person  2 years
Libel 2 Business or Group  1 year
Libel 3 State or States  1 year
Animal Murder 1 Intentional Killing 5-10 years**** £1,000 per animal
Murder 2 Defensive Killing
Murder 3 Accidental Killing
Violence 1 Intentional Violence 5 years****
Violence 2 Defensive Violence  Depends
Violence 3 Accidental Violence  Nil  ?
Theft 1 Any Animal 5-10 years*****
 Other types of Crime

 

*length of sentence depends on severity of crime; circumstances: if more than one person is involved, then the sentences apply for each person the crime has been committed against and run non-concurrently

**depends on value of those things stolen – the higher the value, the longer the sentence

***a fixed fee is payable, taken from the assets of the criminal

****the person who stole will need to either return that which was stolen in one piece or pay the value

****length of sentence depends on severity of crime; circumstances: if more than one animal is involved, then the sentences apply for each animal the crime has been committed against and run non-concurrently

***** depends on value of those things stolen – the higher the value, the longer the sentence

The key is trying to get consistency in sentencing and valuing life and property and also helping criminals come to a point of remorse and restoration.  Some people need to be kept in secure units to protect the public.

We also need to look at prison design:

– prisons need to be smaller so that they can be better managed

– prisoners need to earn their keep through training, education and work placements

– prisoners need to be housed near family so as to reduce family breakdown

– prison security needs to be re-thought so as to reduce access to illegal substances

– each cell should only house one person

– we need to think through how we can make sure prisoners are ‘punished’ but also ‘rehabilitated’ and given dignity whilst taking away their ‘freedom’.

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