Friday, 2 July 2010

Soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime

After seeing the Lib-Dems break countless pre-election promises, it’s refreshing to see the Conservatives backtrack on one of their own major vote winners. In what sounds like a progressive move by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, the Coalition Government is looking for alternatives to just “banging people up without actively seeking to change them”. So from criticising Gordon Brown for releasing 80 000 criminals early, the Tories are proposing not sending people to prison in the first place. Will core Tory voters tolerate this? I think the blue rinse brigade will be turning grey with worry.

One could almost be fooled into thinking the move by Clarke to champion rehabilitation over punitive punishment is progressive. Unfortunately, it’s not. If the Coalition is serious about tackling the causes of crime, then why squeeze preventative initiatives such as Sure Start and the Child Trust Fund? Also, why cancel the Future Jobs Fund which creates youth employment and gives a realistic alternative to a life of crime?

The truth is the Tories don’t care about their pre-election promises and the Coalition isn’t serious about criminal rehabilitation. Instead, it is a cheap trick to mask 25% public sector cuts. Likewise, it provides easy access for private companies to supply and deliver none custodial sentences. Hence, the Tories' ideological raison d'etre - to reduce the size of the state - is a fait accompli.

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