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August 21, 2011

"Bill for tough riot sentencing runs into millions"

The title of this post is the headline of this piece from The Independent discussing some consequences and costs of the legal responses to some of the recent rioting across the pond.  Here is how the piece starts:

The tough sentencing in the aftermath of the riots has led to outbreaks of unrest in prisons across the country, as new research for The Independent on Sunday reveals that the courts' approach to riot-related offences has piled millions of pounds on to the bill for running overcrowded prisons.

Figures show that some two-thirds of the 1,300 arrested following the disturbances were remanded in custody, at a total cost of almost £2m, according to figures provided by the Institute for Public Policy Research.  The IPPR calculates the average cost of an under three-month sentence is £2,245 per offender.

On top of this, research for The Guardian showed riot sentences were on average 25 per cent longer than for the same offences last year, meaning the 30 people so far given custodial sentences for theft or handling stolen goods were sent to prison for 5.1 rather than 4.1 months.

The IPPR figures suggest the difference would add over £20,000 to the cost of jailing these prisoners.  However, with the rate of imprisonment for rioting offences running at 70 per cent, compared with the 3.5 per cent of defendants remanded by magistrates in the whole of last year, the cost is expected to climb dramatically.

Concerns have also been expressed about the number of children arrested following the riots.  The latest figures suggest 17% of defendants facing riot-related charges in court were aged between 11 and 17 -- and, in some areas, up to a third of these were in council care.

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said: "We warned [the Government] about this potential, that the prison population could take off at any time, and we were ignored.  Our prisons can't be continually overcrowded, because when they are, our officers can't do the rehabilitation work they're employed to do; it just becomes warehousing."

August 21, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink


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Caning is cheap, and can be repeated endlessly, however many times the defendant wants to recidivate. Make it really painful, such as 50 times or use the lash. It can done on the spot by the police with proper video tape evidence of vandalism, as backup. These rioters are not even human. All law abiding citizens should receive weapons and training. Any citizen on the scene who does not try to kill a rioter should be fined $100. Establishe the duty to kill these internal enemies. Store owners should be allowed to kill to protect their property. All economic value comes from human labor. Someone who destroys property is killing the human labor of a person, an economic person. The death penalty is justified by the murder of a physical person, and it is justified by the murder of an economic person.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 21, 2011 2:28:35 PM

Talking about cost is getting to be the repeat-ad-nauseum way to avoid talking about the behavior that requires society to respond.

But if we are to dwell on cost, for the umpteenth time, the answer is to require those who brought it about to pay. Put the rioters to work until they've earned enough to pay for their imprisonment, not to mention restitution for the property they destroyed and the injuries they've caused.

If they've got enough energy to riot, they've got enough energy to work. Best they'd get to it. The whole problem is that they think other people exist to fuel their amusement, pay their bills and clean up after them. We need to start tearing down this way of thinking, not continue to build it up.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 21, 2011 5:11:25 PM

Any costs associated with bringing the rioters to justice are an investment in the public order.

The security of the public is as important as the national defense.

Oh, that's right, Europe doesn't believe in national defense expenditures either.

Posted by: mjs | Aug 22, 2011 7:28:50 PM

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