The prison crisis has got so bad over the recent years within England that we are being force to create more prisons, keep people in inadequate prisons and now keep people in custody cells. So are there more prisoners in jail or on the streets? Well I would suggest that after the lord chancellors recent comments regarding the prison crisis “only jail the most dang ours criminals”, That yes there are more prisoners on the streets than in prisons.
Are we creating more criminals is the real question that we should be asking ourselves? And how and why have we as a country and society let it get as far as only being able to jail the most dangours criminals? I feel that the answer to this questions lies with the magistrates courts. We are and have been sending hundreds of people to prison each year for non payment of fines, and for other silly offenses. Are these people really criminals? Whilst sending sch people to prison we are letting murders and pedophiles out on probation because of the over crowding situation. I can personally honestly say that i would much rather the murder or the pedophile have the place in prison than the man who didnt pay his council tax because he is having a few money troubles.
So why are we doing this? My answer to this question is because we don’t know what we are doing. Magistrates have provided a fantastic service to the community for hundreds of years, they are no paid members of the public who give up their spare time to hear cases in magistrates courts. This system has worked for many years also. However our judiciary thought that as the system was working so well instead of leaving it to do its job it would give them more power and more responsibility, and by doing so we have given people with no legal knowledge or training, or experience the opportunity to sentence people to years in prison, and sending people to prison is what they do. They send three times as many people to prison per year compared to the crown court and hight courts and lets not forget that these courts the magistrates courts are the ones who are dealing with the less serious crimes.
To tackle the problem with the prison crisis we are going to have to tackle the problem with the judicial system and stop thinking that we are able to go for quick solutions to the problem like letting people out early… Most of them end up going back just as quickly anyway it just means that they have one more victim to add to the list.
Are there more prisoners in jail or on the streets? Well who’s to know that answer but we can be sure that it is the most dangours and the ones that have committed the most serious crimes that are the ones who are being released from prison or not even sent there in the first place.