Under the government`s camouflage of obtaining value for money in our justice system many slices of salami have been removed from the roll of product pressed against the rotary blade of austerity. The latest changes to the availability and provision of legal aid are just another cut in the body of justice which might not yet be dying but is certainly far from being in robust health. The newest piece of sticking plaster that the Justice Secretary has produced to shore up the tsunami of criticism which has been levelled against him from all quarters is his announcement that all those released from a prison sentence will undergo a year`s supervision. In the year to September 2012 34,593 offenders were sentenced to immediate custody not exceeding three months[pp57]. These people would generally serve half their sentence in the community. In 2006 7,398 offenders were sentenced to a maximum of one month`s immediate custody. They would have included fine defaulters, drunk and/or disqualified drivers and persistent thieves offending to feed their addiction(s). There will be no filtering. All such offenders will be under the wing of Serco, Group 4 or other new “partner” in probation for 12 months being paid by results. The underlying problems of such offenders are generally drink and/or drugs. They impoverish those addicted, destroy family relationships and remove any desire to self reform. They are medical/health orientated conditions which our society is not prepared to remove from the prison system and, with the required legislation and input of capital, transfer to the N.H.S.
From Kenneth Clarke to Chris Grayling; Get out of jail free, do not pass Go, do not collect £200. Perhaps from the sublime to the ridiculous is more appropriate.