August 02, 2006



I don't think that gender should enter into it. I do think that prison should be reserved for the more serious offences. Apart from anything else, the cost is crippling.

I would like to see more done to consider alternatives that would be a deterent but which would also do more for the victims. Crimes of violence, where there is a danger to the public is where prison should feature.

Peter Turner

As I understand it we are supposed to support gender equality. It follows, therefore, that the Howard League are also in support of freeing the vast majority of male prisoners also.

Sean Fear

The interesting thing about most campaigns for equal treatment Peter, is that they demand equality when it suits them, and they demand special treatment when it suits them.

If a woman has committed an offence for which a man would be jailed, then equality before the law demands she should be jailed.


I'm pretty sure the Howard League want more or less all prisoners released male or female. Focusing on women prisoners today is merely one front in their overall struggle. It will probably be young offeders* next month.

* Young offenders as in 19 year old drug dealers who've cracked someones head open.

Zendo Deb

I don't understand what is happening in the UK. You folks have a crime problem - though most of the statistics I see are for Britain and Scotland. You seem dead set against doing anything that would solve it.

Yes, prisons are expensive. But if you are the one who is a victim of a violent crime in the morning, that is very expensive to you, to your family, to your job - since you will miss some work. The costs are real.

London now has a violent crime rate per 100,000 people that is roughly seven times that of New York. London and New York have roughly the same number of people (7 million and 8 million) and spend about the same amount on police. What London doesn't do is send criminals to jail. (New Yorkers are also permitted to defend themselves if attacked, but that is another story.)

How bad does it have to get before letting more criminals on the street would be seen to be a bad idea? While Labour is busy outlawing fox hunting, it is open season on the average citizen. I don't understand how politicians win elections under these circumstances. Law and Order is usually one of the topics that bring people out to the poles.

(Before you tell me that there is nothing to be done, read the referenced article, one of the reasons that NY has a lower crime rate that London is that the crime rate was driven down steeply. Two years ago, Chicago cut its murder rate by 25 or 30 percent, without spending one additional dollar on police personnel. Things can be done. Opening the doors of the prisons isn't one of them.)

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