16 October 2007

Stupidity in Practice

"One day we will all wake up to the namby-pamby, politically-correct approach that for economic reasons seems to be adopted to save the police paperwork - instead of letting them get on with their jobs."

Jailing a serial thief who stole a pensioner's purse, but was given just an £80 on-the-spot fine after committing an identical offence two years earlier despite a string of more than 30 previous thefts, Judge Timothy Nash has condemned the Government's policy of on-the-spot fines:

"The issue of a penalty notice ticket for the criminal offence of shoplifting as a device is stupidity in practice. It means, not infrequently, that people don't have their difficulties addressed by a court, which is better able to deal with shoplifters than anybody issuing what is in effect a parking ticket."
The judge thus maintains that, in sparing almost 200,000 offenders every year the humiliation of a court appearance, Labour's policy is unfair to the community and leads to offenders not getting help from the courts. But then, as we have discussed before, this Government appears to think criminal justice is solely about punishment and seems completely closed to the possibility of transformative justice. In Labour's Big Brother world, transgressors are to be punitively controlled, not reformed, let alone helped back to the point where they can make a positive contribution to society.