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I am a liberal sort but…

…I’m happy for new laws to be brought in where abouts being a complete pleb is a crime of some sort. These thoughts are prompted by stories such as this one I read earlier today in everyone’s favourite chip paper rag the Daily Mail. Sick joker facing jail for shouting ‘bang, bang’ and making gun gesture at policeman blinded by Raoul Moat. is the title and reading the piece you just have to think that sheer stupidity and disrespect deserves to be punished – and punished hard.

Now I don’t want to see her go to jail. That serves little purpose apart from scaring her straight. Will 12 weeks inside ensure that she doesn’t do it again? It might and that is all good. However another way of treating absolute Grade A morons is by making them do charity/unpaid work – and not just 80 hours that people get three months to do. Find out what job she has – if she has one – in this instance she doesn’t then make her work 40 hour weeks of unpaid work for six months unless she gets paid employment – then she has to do unpaid work on her days off. Also for cases like these make them have an alcohol ban.

Six weeks inside might scare her straight but six months of long hard unpaid work that will do something good for the community may have both a longer lasting effect and do something good for the local community. Everywhere things need to be done and with council budgets getting slashed then lets get an army of petty crooks working for free and not just some half-hearted effort. The debate about weekly bin collections could be sorted quickly and easily – bin collections to be done by people serving community sentences. Simple. The amounts of parks that need cleaning up, rivers with trolleys in, overgrown plants that need pruning, community areas not tidy.

Whilst I’m not advocating Chain Gangs (although in a way I’m not totally against them) there are clearly better ways to teach people a lesson than lock them up for a bit. Public humiliation I suspect works far better than a few weeks away inside where no-one can see them. The whole prison size issue can be sorted pretty easily but there are too many people that think prison works for everyone and quite frankly it doesn’t.

If these people are on benefits and commit crimes then I don’t think I’m wrong to think that they have to work for their benefits. There are people on benefits through no fault of their own and I’m far less harsh on them but benefits + petty crime surely has to equal work for their benefits..surely?

David Cameron has this quite pie-in-the-sky concept of The Big Society. Well I think The Big Society can start with getting petty criminals working for the state for free as punishment as well as teaching them a lesson it will treat them some humility. I’m also perfectly happy for judges to give young people especially who are getting into petty and more serious crime the offer to military service instead of prison. That too for me has more than some credence.

Lastly alcohol. Alcohol is not a human right. So many crimes are due to drunkenness and people acting like complete numpties. Commit a crime and alcohol is involved then give them an alcohol ban. That will teach them a lesson. If they can’t drink for x amount of time they’ll realise that is wasn’t worth it. If you want to drink and then act like an idiot then be prepared to pay the consequences. A night in the drunk tank in a local police station won’t stop most people from getting drunk the next weekend. Not being able to drink for six months might well make them wonder whether getting drunk in public is really worth it. People who get arrested for drunken behavior should be ordered to seek treatment at alcohol rehab centers, and not be thrown in jail.

Get drunk and walk home quietly causing no-one any problems then who cares. Get drunk and punch a car window in or start a fight then there is a huge problem. Alcohol is not an excuse for bad behaviour and the sooner we as a country face up to that fact then the sooner we can sort out a lot of the lesser crimes and make this country a better and safer place for all.

No government has yet to tackle anti-social behaviour with anything that will either work or isn’t a laughing stock. Things people who commit public order offences/partake in anti-social behaviour generally like:

Spare Time.

If you take those two things away for committing those crimes then I would bet a huge stash of cash that the reoffending rates would collapse.

Seems simple to me but what do I know?

PS: Armegeddon has reached the Essex Rivera. Boy it’s canning – absolutely canning it down outside.

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