The headlines today are full of news that some prisoners are going to be let out of jail early. This is disingenuous because nearly all prisoners are let out of jail early, usually about half way through their sentence but often much sooner.
It is no surprise that crime is out of control, and I speak with some knowledge as I spend one shift a fortnight working as a special constable.
Politicians should wake up to the fact that what is needed to stem the rising tide of crime in this country is not new laws or extra police officers but a doubling of the prison population.
When confronted with this blindingly obvious fact, the bleeding heart brigade usually begin by wailing about the human rights of offenders and end with an argument with which they feel reasonable people will concur. “Think of the cost they cry.”
Some of us have. The overall cost to our nation of crime each year has been estimated by the government at between £60-£90 billion annually.
Another government report states that most crime is committed by a hard core of 100,000 criminals, of whom only 15,000 are in prison at any one time.
Removing these career criminals would double the prison population and therefore double the cost of prison spending from the current spending level of £3billion to £6billion each year.
However, by the Government’s own estimate, in return for this £3billion outlay we could expect crime rates to be halved saving the country between £30-£45 billion.
Leaving aside the improvement in living quality for the law-abiding majority, these figures show that far from being expensive prison is a financial bargain. Let’s get building.