There are scum, absolute scum and then.... by PaulT



PaulT
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 08 Jun 2014, 19:41 #1 

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Jürgen
That's disgusting. :(
Jürgen

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Posted 08 Jun 2014, 20:40 #2 

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raistlin
Welcome to the world of the Judiciary chaps.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 08 Jun 2014, 21:06 #3 


PaulT
raistlin wrote:Welcome to the world of the Judiciary chaps.


No, this is taking the person who did it out the back and tickling them with baseball bats
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 08 Jun 2014, 21:51 #4 

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raistlin
You missed my point I think Paul. This, and conceivably worse are the sorts of things we deal with over and over again.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 08 Jun 2014, 22:03 #5 


PaulT
Sorry Paul I did.

Must admit I find your postings about the cases that you hear - now I am stumped for a word, interesting is wrong, perhaps worrying may be a better word. Your Court is just one of a great many. From the local paper where I live there are stories in that about Magistrate cases, albeit very brief, whereas your stories have more depth.

Only been involved in one case in a Magistrates Court. I arrived at work early (usually got in at about 6am) and thought 'that's funny no computers'. Phoned the Police and they thought they had them 'can you come down and identify them'. They had nabbed the gang who stole them before I found they were missing.

So to the court case and one of the detectives involved came over to me and said 'if they ask for your address ask to be allowed to write it down'. I must have looked a little quizzical and he said 'I would not let any of them know where I lived'.

The defence solicitor asked 'how do you know they are the ones from your company?' 'Well, they have various documents etc produced by the staff on them'.

I occasionally watch the programmes on TV about the police. Wow, what they put up with, people swearing at them, taunting them etc and the fights.

Paul you have written before stating that you do not believe that prison sometimes does not work - what is the answer?
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 06:41 #6 

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raistlin
PaulT wrote:Paul you have written before stating that you do not believe that prison sometimes does not work - what is the answer?


That might become a tad political for this forum Paul :) I'll refer to Mick and see what he thinks.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 06:59 #7 


PaulT
Thanks Paul - I also note that I have used a double negative so one of the 'not's' needs deleting.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 13:56 #8 

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raistlin
A custodial sentence, especially a short term sentence of the sort Magistrates can hand down, is nothing more than a warehousing arrangement. A few, a minimal few, find the experience sufficiently salutary that they choose not to try it again, and for these people, the custodial sentence can be said to have worked. Unfortunately, most of those sent down have offended because their environment is such that they cannot find another method so all we are doing is packing them off for an admittedly horrible experience and then releasing them, unprepared and largely unassisted, into the same environment where the same factors will force them into the same offending behaviour, but with the experience of custody to assist them.

IF a custodial sentence is to be effective, there must be education whilst incarcerated and time taken to understand why the individual did what they did. Furthermore, and most importantly, there must be a support system when they are released. The plain fact is, there is no such thing. The probation service do their best but are hampered and hamstrung right left and centre by the lack of investment provided by an administration which is big on spin, sound-bites and hand-wringing but which has other areas in which to invest more lucrative to their long term interests.

Occasionally a custodial sentence is indicated, purely for the punitive effect, and that, whilst being emotionally attractive, must never, in my view become the sole purpose of sentencing. To do so would be to diminish all of us.

People offend for a reason, by and large, and, galling as it is, we know the environments and triggers but once again, the solutions lie in investment which just isn't there.

At this point I'd like to add that I know that there are the majority of people who find themselves in just such a set of circumstances who do not offend and I appreciate these people, without wishing to be patronising, for their strength of character.

However, this being the twenty first century, does it seem right that food-banks exist, that people should be in a situation where they rely on food-banks to survive, and where the use of these food-banks is increasing at an alarming rate. I am not a socialist. Far from it, but I can see the iniquity of those at the lower end of society being hounded and penalised whilst those at the higher end continue to become more and more prosperous, in part owing to favourable taxation, the ability to avoid the taxation that they do have and in some cases the ability to perpetrate white collar crime with an almost zero chance of being brought to book.

How about the bedroom tax? On the face of it, a good idea to stop people hoarding limited housing space which others might need. The problem is of course, that the administration were fully aware that when it was introduced, there was nowhere near enough single and two bedroom property for the so called solution to be effective, resulting in people trapped in three and four bedroomed property, who were willing to downsize but for whom no viable alternative was available, so forcing them to lose benefit income even though they were prepared to accede to the demands to downsize. That doesn't of course, take into account the legions of people with carers or special needs, for whom the loss of a room in their property would lead to exacerbated physical and mental health problems with the subsequent degradation in their lives.

Again, I am fully aware that there are those who take advantage of the benefits system and those people would be far better served by being shown that there was a better alternative. If you would lose money by coming off benefits and taking up employment, what is the motivation to do so?

This is not a rant but rather, my view of the environment which breeds criminality and it is from this environment that we must take guidance to produce just sentencing which will stop people re-offending in the future or, better still, to stop them offending in the first place and trust me, the solution is not longer and tougher custodial sentences because those people driven into criminality will do so regardless of the potential outcome.

With your agreement Paul, I'll pause there whilst I marshall my thoughts as to alternatives to custody.

My views are my own and are based upon my observations. It is not my intention to antagonise anybody and if I have done so I apologise, but this subject cannot, in my view, be discussed without some discomfort ;)
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 16:34 #9 


PaulT
Paul, many thanks for the first part. For me it is easy to sit here and say 'stick them in prison for a long time'. However, in some of the programmes that follow the Police in carrying out their duty clearly something is going wrong when the Police know those they are arresting by first name and arrested them a short time previously.

By the same token that the Police know the offenders by name then you must recognise them in the dock. In these cases obviously things are not working otherwise they would not continually reoffend.

One thing that horrifies me are all the adverts for gambling and perhaps more worrying those for 'payday' loans at several thousand percent - what is worse getting hooked on drugs or in to a spiral of debt that just increases dramatically.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 17:56 #10 

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raistlin
So what is the answer?

Well, minds immeasurably superior to mine have been debating this question so far be it from me to offer the definitive solution. But again, I have my views, based upon experience, hope and a certain political naivety ;)

Firstly, one thing I want to make clear which I didn't in my last post is that the nexus between criminal offending and living on benefits is not exclusive, although, in a Magistrates Court, on any given day, 80% to 90% of offenders are on benefits.

Perhaps that is because they feel disenfranchised from society and therefore feel no loyalty or duty of care to that society which is perceived to exclude them. So effective sentencing might start with not needing to sentence because there is no offending. Can we give people a real, palpable stake in their society. Perhaps people will not attack something which they feel a part of. I'm not at all sure what the overall answer might be but guess what? It will need investment, not only financially but in time and effort, not just for and by the few but in society as a whole. How that is to be done is beyond me but I just hope that if the ideas are there, we can summon up sufficient investment to make it work.

That's not just so much pie in the sky either, in my experience. I have seen many examples of offenders who have been turned away from a life of criminality because they are suddenly made aware that they are able to give and their views are given value and listened to. The problem is that the longer it is before intervention, the less chance there is of success.

Let me give you a recent example. This is a sixteen year old lad who has been the bane of the Wolverhampton Youth Court for some time now. He is damaged goods, the early part of his life being characterised by ignorance, abuse, poor role models etc. Looking at his criminal record you would be hard pressed to find any chance of salvation in him. In fact, his rate of re-offending is such that when he is in Court, his record is never up to date.

At present, this lad is on a Youth Rehabilitation Order with intensive surveillance. This is basically the last chance saloon for a youth. The next stop is custody.

He was up in front of my Bench a few days ago for breaching his YRO. However, owing to workload, he was not brought back to Court until several weeks after the breach.

In this time, he has stopped offending, begun to engage with the Youth Offending Team and his case worker, and is making plans for a future which includes education and employment.

Chaps, I didn't come down in the last shower, neither did my colleagues nor the professionals who deal with him. We know that sometimes people tell us lies ;) However, mirabile dictu, he seems to have turned himself around and suddenly developed a sense of responsibility and maturity. We all saw it in Court. Gone was the gauche, paranoid, slouching youth. Before us was a straight, apparently confident, level headed young man, at ease with himself. The reason for this transformation which, whilst unusual, is not so unusual as to be considered miraculous was because he has begun an "Independent Living" regime. He is still, to all intents and purposes, in the care of the local authority, but lives in his own flat, responsible for his own life, and with nobody to chide him along.

As he said to us:- "If I don't get my act together, there is nobody to do it for me. Nobody to get my food, nobody to do my washing and cleaning." He went on at some length and with evangelical fervour, but you get the idea :)

One thing he did say though, is that he feels in control of his life for the first time and accepts that he was given the chance to realise that the world didn't owe him a living. He likes the idea of self governance and has extended it as far as he possibly can. He also appreciates that people do listen to him and take his vies into account.

So perhaps, a possible sentencing option might be to make the offender responsible for his own existence. it won't work with everybody but so what? It is my view now that this young man, though with a long way to go, is getting there, and without the need to send him to custody.

This is, of course, an example chosen by me to fit in with my agenda and there are many who do not make it as youngsters in the criminal injustice system. My point is, it took a lot of investment in time, money and effort to get this lad to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee, but I'm satisfied that he has crossed his personal Rubicon. Sorry for the excessive use of cliché, I'm beginning to sound like a social worker :lol:

There is another event that can cause a young offender to suddenly change his ways which I've seen on many occasions and I'm sure those who work with youths might agree with.

This is when they suddenly realise that the opposite sex have a function other than to be the butt of puerile jokes and that femininity, rather than something to be despised, holds a mysterious promise of delights as yet unimagined ;)

Don't knock it chaps, the power of love, nascent in otherwise immature callow youth, brings with it a strong sense of the need to protect and provide, along with the concomitant responsibility. It works, and had diverted many a thorny problem away from a life of crime :)

The Youth Offending Teams are dedicated and do their best but the solution to each individual case is just that - individual and it takes a great deal of time and effort to find the trigger. If you can find that trigger, it will produce a much better and more durable result than merely punishing the wrong doer.

So tell me, which would you rather see? Time and effort to find the trigger to generate the enthusiasm to change, or warehousing an already defensive, youthfully paranoid individual with lots of others of the same ilk.

Sometimes young offenders get to do things which others can only dream of, but for those who haven't had to make the choice between criminality and responsibility, if we can engender a feeling of self worth which brings an individual back from the brink by, for example, giving him the responsibility of captaining a boat crew on a lake, or planning and leading an expedition to get him to begin to recognise his value as an individual, and his role as a valuable individual in a society which suddenly seems less alienating, then perhaps it is worth it.

We have a lot of professional, dedicated people, with no end of enthusiasm to invest time and effort. What we are starving these people of, is investment, because it doesn't sound good when the newspaper trumpets the fact that a bunch of young ne'er do wells has been given the chance to demonstrate their worth on fun projects while the law abiding can only stand and watch... until you understand why.

Would I encourage my son to become a criminal in the hope of getting a free adventure holiday or would I prefer to see him grow up with a sense of right and wrong and a moral philosophy that I might have had a hand in encouraging?

It doesn't always work. I'd be crackers to even think it would. But it does sometimes. Really, it does :)

I think that's enough for one post. Do I continue or are people sick to death of me going on and on ad infinitum?
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 18:51 #11 

Last edited by raistlin on 09 Jun 2014, 18:59, edited 2 times in total.

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raistlin
PaulT wrote:By the same token that the Police know the offenders by name then you must recognise them in the dock. In these cases obviously things are not working otherwise they would not continually reoffend.


That's because we don't get it right first time. We need to find the trigger and then have the wherewithal to follow it up Paul.

Oh, and there are some who will never be helped :(
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 18:53 #12 


PaulT
Paul, very enlightening. Yes, as you say the media do sometimes portray the Judiciary 'letting' people off and then there are those who spend the majority of their life in prison.

Will admit I sometimes look at people living on the run down estates, perhaps with 'slob' parents who can see no improvement to their lot. I assume that some will have job applications thrown in the bin because of where they live.

As for investment - the cost of putting someone in prison is not cheap so as seems your aim to reduce prison and increase rehabilitation the funding is there - or is it a case of a budget for prison and a budget for rehabilitation and money cannot go from one to the other.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:11 #13 


Jumper
That was cathartic and well worth the reading.

Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:19 #14 

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raistlin
PaulT wrote:As for investment - the cost of putting someone in prison is not cheap so as seems your aim to reduce prison and increase rehabilitation the funding is there - or is it a case of a budget for prison and a budget for rehabilitation and money cannot go from one to the other.


There is, in my view, insufficient investment overall Paul.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:23 #15 


PaulT
My thanks to Mick for allowing Paul to post and to Paul for posting.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:23 #16 

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raistlin
Jumper wrote:That was cathartic.


For me as well :) Do we want to hear the further "Thoughts of chairman Paul" ? I haven't started on adult offenders yet.

I did wonder whether there might be some other opinions and ideas as well. Maybe nobody else is interested :( It is a car forum after all ;)


BTW, is this a diatribe yet?
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:26 #17 


Jumper
raistlin wrote:
Jumper wrote:That was cathartic.


For me as well :) Do we want to hear the further "Thoughts of chairman Paul" ? I haven't started on adult offenders yet.

I did wonder whether there might be some other opinions and ideas as well. Maybe nobody else is interested :( It is a car forum after all ;)


BTW, is this a diatribe yet?



Not a diatribe. Yet. But Hope springs..

Certainly interested but, as an occasional observer, opinions are maybe either ill-formed or only partly formed.

Posted 09 Jun 2014, 19:41 #18 


PaulT
I would like to hear more - an inside view.

What would be even better would be a view from a reformed and a practising criminal - I know that is not possible.

It is a car forum but does have a social agenda as well.
Paul

That apart Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play

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Posted 09 Jun 2014, 21:18 #19 


Bolin
Interesting stuff and thanks for posting - I can't offer any opinions becuase I have no experience of the subjects being discussed (thankfully - my life is nearer the better end of the social spectrum) so have nothing to base an opinion on.

It's certainly eye opening to read about other aspcts of our society which I do not see for myself.

Posted 09 Jun 2014, 21:53 #20 


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