Conversation The Forum
Helper icon Helpers: Chris2mates , LLstill , PrincessFruitBat

About us

Midsummer's Eve is a free online dating community - based around friendship, real meetups, real people, and real relationships. We've been online since 1999 and have twice won Radio 2's Web Site of the Day award. So why not join us for free and join in the discussion?

What should we do?

About dangerous people?

1 2 Next   Last  

Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire
2-Dec-2019 01:21 Message #4763957
This isn't just about the case of the released terrorist in the London Bridge incident, but that has opened the can of worms again.
Prison is supposed to be about containment of risk, punishment, and rehabilitation; but where should the weight of the process lie?
Declaring my interest as someone who works on the first and third of those with the most dangerous convicted inmates, I know that the first is doable but often (mostly) the third isn't.
Shouldn't we make the safety of everyone else paramount? Shouldn't we recognise that pathologies and ideologies can make offenders unreleasable? Shouldn't we stop bending over backwards to be totally 'right-on' p.c?
Between 2008 and 2012 the Parole Board part of early release was shelved, and it was an automatic right to get out after doing half the sentence (now meant to be two-thirds) and now Parole Board back in but without the most thorough multi-agency assessments and directives.
Life-licence means early release with "probation monitoring" but straight back in if crime is committed again. In my own practice I've known that to be the case just weeks after release, more lives then taken, and actually nothing was different from the original acts.
This is such a complex issue but I don't want to proselytize....i'd just like to hear some informed opinions comments.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
2-Dec-2019 01:47 Message #4763958
Something I've been wondering about for a while, punishment and does it work. The questions you ask Cassis are difficult to answer - without intending to expand the discussion, you mention pathologies and ideologies, both of which we're seeing a lot of in the people standing for election right now.
I think one of the main problems with punishment is we're not actually very good at finding the people who commit the crimes, a seecondary part of that, and probably links more with your point, is our justice system is very good at letting people off on technicalities.
Should we stop bending over backwards to be totally 'right-on p.c?', it would be nice if there was a middle ground, but someone has to stand up for those wrongly convicted.
Shouldn't we make the safety of everyone else paramount? I would prefer the safety of everyone to be paramount, if that means incarceration then so be it; however, as you point out, the Parole Board which would have overseen the possible early release of prisoners was 'suspended' and is now back but almost toothless and our local probation office was closed and officers numbers reduced can less people handle such an increase in work load?
Your main question, where should the weight of the process lie? as a sometimes believer (more a hoper) in rehabilitation, I would have to say that, but to achieve it we need better resources to assess and monitor and unfortunately -

we gets what we pays for!
Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire
2-Dec-2019 02:24 Message #4763960
Thoughtful response, Terry. I will address it but I'm half-asleep right now, and have an extra-long workday tomorrow.
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire
2-Dec-2019 07:07 Message #4763963
It's a near impossible one to get right....Should there be a total blanket decision regarding dangerous criminals...or individual cases treated differently....

The 'lock them up and throw away the key' attitude.....or the 'give them another chance' stance...

In general, I would say the 'throw away the key' option would be the way to go...Once a major crime has been committed, then it's too late to give them another chance....

At the moment, with the Islam 'thing'...we are certainly in danger in this country on a daily basis....It's a World problem...but it's very much a 'Britain' problem as well right now....and we need to take extreme measures to deal with it....If those measures are Un PC, or against 'human rights' or whatever, then so be it....We don't really know what is going on...or what these monsters are capable of.....and they need stopping...The general public of this country deserve to be protected from the evil.....and I've only mentioned the Islam extremists so far....I also would say for any other evil atrocities as anyone...

If anyone is to be 'let out' after serving time for any crimes....then the rehabilitation program certainly needs 'rehabilitating'.....Also I've always hated the 'serve half your time' really bugs me....
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire
2-Dec-2019 08:09 Message #4763972
We have become too soft, there are no deterrents now.

In our local paper each week, there is a column of named offenders (for all sorts of crimes) Their punishments are far too lenient. Most of them just laugh at their sentences & go on to continually offend. This goes from the minor crimes right up to the major crimes.

In general, it starts from an early age - even pre school. Then when c hildren go to school, they have no respect for teachers or anyone in authority, then it goes on to the work place, police etc. They become totally unaware of the laws of the country. They dont realise that laws are created to make living here a safe and secure country for everyone. So many go on to become hardened criminals who are just not afraid of anything.

Also we are allowing people to come into our country who have convictions (past & present) in their own lands. We are governed by various laws that wont allow us to return them - "its against human rights" and this is being exploited.

We appear to have become a safe haven for the world's criminals. It frightens me and concerns me greatly for future generations. As a senior citizen, I wouldnt consider walking round my local town after dark, and I now hesitate to go during the day due to recent incidents of violence taking place there.

Its a vicious circle, and should be addessed with far more seriousness, and more appropriate punishments.
Beach  Male  Dorset
2-Dec-2019 10:11 Message #4763978
Violent crime and murder are crimes deserving of hefty punishments and can be regarded as heinous acts though, in many cases, rehabilitation, (when available or affordable), can see an offender return to society and then lead a constructive life.

I don’t know the statistics but is it true, (I ask rhetorically), that many acts of violence and murder are committed by individuals or groups of people who know or are aware of each other?

I ask this question, not to attempt to infer that everyday violence or acts of murder are, somehow, tolerable. Rather; I ask this because, to me, an act of terrorism is higher in the hierarchy of deadly criminal acts than mere violence or mere murder and an act of terrorism, (which may include violence and murder), represents a higher order of magnitude of despicable behaviour in as much as most incidents are premeditated, indiscriminate, murderous acts against entirely innocent members of society.

I concede that certain acts of regular murder also targets innocent people though I am attempting to make a case that terrorists, in exhibiting their own cruel, murderous levels of depravity, should be treated differently, more severely, than other criminals.

This higher level of terrorist based mayhem, violence and murder, to me, places such a criminal in the same category as an unreasoning wild animal in as much as, “Who in their right mind would allow a wild lion, tiger or grizzly bear to be roaming free on the streets of our capital … or anywhere else?" Thus; dealing with a criminal with a murderous mindset of the type a terrorist possesses, I would like to see such despicable individuals eradicated from our society.

At the risk of setting some precedent, (that might one day expand or creep into other levels of criminal punishment), I would re-introduce the death penalty … specifically for terrorists and particularly to address / redress the type of threat to society that terrorists represent.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
2-Dec-2019 11:06 Message #4763988
I think greater transparency iin the whole process would be good, many people don't understand how our courts work and are more familiar with the American justice system than ours thanks to TV. How many risoners actually get rehabilitation and is it good quality and adressing their needs and the needs of society in general? How much rehab did someone like John Warbouys have? Is rehab a box ticking exercise?

Then theres mental health and learning difficulties, how many fall into crime because of these and is prison the best place for them.

I think we need a major rethink on criminal justice, is our system fit for purpose, is it serving societies needs, is it serving the needs of those with mental health problems?

Is having a radical belief system somethig that can be cured, I doubt it, what makes some people fall into these ways of thinking? We think education would help to stop it, but it dosen't, not from the numbers of well educated terrorists their are.

I have lots of question but few answers.
Beach  Male  Dorset
2-Dec-2019 19:07 Message #4764029
The American parole system is quite impressive.

On release, depending on the inmate or the crime previously committed, there is a quite sophisticated array of hoops that a newly released prisoner has to jump through in order to stay out of the prison he is being allowed to leave ... under parole.

No alcohol. No guns. No leaving a state (Or) alternately, being tagged at an agreed location. Observing a curfew. Not associating with felons. Keeping away from drugs. Reporting to a parole officer by a set time on a set date.

The concept of American parole is that an inmate remains the property of the state, (or prison), and, therefore, only needs to break any one of a whole list of rules to be, immediately, returned to jail or prison.

I'm sure, in principle, our UK parole system, (coming out under license?), is a similar thing though, I admit, in the case of a murderous terrorist, even the threat of breaking parole probably doesn't come into it, (because, after a violent incident, they'll be happy in dying anyway), but, I think, normally, such a paroled person should be able to be controlled / monitored or corralled into staying within a framework that could contain them.

The recent London Bridge case was a bit different because the, would be, terrorist was invited to London as part of a rehabilitation conference. (That was all a bit strange in its own way.)

Perhaps, without that unforeseen event, the paroled man would never have got the chance to murder?

As it was, it seemed that the temptation to slaughter a young guy trying to act as a bridge to improve parolee lives was just too good to pass up ... from the point of view of the terrorist.

Killing such a young man doing such a good job might, to a terrorist, rate as hitting "the system" right at its heart.
I say; Either lock them up for a complete lifetime, execute them or experiment on them just as Droog Alex was experimented upon, (with the Ludovico technique), in Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange.
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire
2-Dec-2019 19:29 Message #4764031
Over here we tend to have concurrent it someone kills 10 people for instance and gets 30 years for each, they serve it all at the same time....and they can get released early anyway......but in some other countries, America amongst them, they would get the 10 x 30 years one after the other ( 300 years ).....It sounds strange saying 300 years, but at least there's no chance of release....
Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire
2-Dec-2019 22:55 Message #4764050
A lot of resources do go into rehabilitation, though mostly at the end of violent and sexual crimes. That is where the most targeted strategies are arguably most needed. It is operated by specifically trained staff with psychologists. There are group programmes as well as one-to-one psychological interventions. Prisoners can refuse either or both but those most in need rarely do. This is not so in general, i.e. outside of Cat A establishments, but then we're talking here about those crimes and risks that would demand Cat A status. However, within that we have an ever growing prison population whose crimes arise from their ideological standpoint, and the current criminal justice system is still to catch up. These people often refuse rehabilitatory intervention; they may form a strong sub-culture in prison; they often present high risk that cannot be measured, or indicated by the crimes they have already committed; they are schooled in "captor conditioning"; and their own contioned thinking may be so deep that it is a natural part of their psyche.

I don't know what "we" should do! We certainly need to look at it from unusual perspectives and I do think there's a strong argument to classify these crimes in a unique way, and thus apply different kinds of management.
I have always been against capital punishment, for the reason that we have to put "thou shalt not kill" as a higher morality, but also because one innocent person wrongly convicted is one person too many. In societies where capital punishment is legal, studies show that those societies as a whole, criminal and non-criminal contingents, are at least 10% more psychopathic than those who do not allow capital punishment.
I do think it's a problem when cultural bias of perpetrators is totally at odds with cultural bias of the system they live in. With terrorists we are dealing with those who oppose our cultural liberalism in a country that inherently upholds it.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
3-Dec-2019 07:40 Message #4764055
Those studies you talk about Cassis, forgive me being a bit thick, are they implying that perhaps because countries allow capital punishment that in some way either reflects the psychological nature of the people, or that having capital punishment makes them more psychopathic?

I do think as you say, we should look at violent crime in a different way to other crimes - we supposedly already do - and cultural bias may have a part to play, however I also think home grown violent people are inherently conditioned in dealing with capture, our society as a whole is teaching this subliminaly. Terrorism in some form has been with us for a long long time, it's an acknowledged tool of war and I would argue it only has the impact it does now because of widespread media coverage; seperating terrorism from violent crime is acknowledging we are at war with someone, a war as yet undeclared? if we are to take the moral high ground, should we not treat terrorism as violent crime?....then that brings the emphasis back to either rehabilitation or incarceration?
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire
3-Dec-2019 08:04 Message #4764056
If you were sentenced to ten years imprisonment and could choose which country you were to serve the ten years - which country would you choose?

I’m guessing we would all choose the same country. Whichever country the sentenced person originated from they would choose the same country we chose.

If you speak to criminals, men of violence you will rarely find one that has the slightest fear of going to prison.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
3-Dec-2019 11:14 Message #4764073
I don't know how deradicalisation programs work, but watching people on TV last night talking about their experiences of it, more does need to be done and it got me thinking. Does radicalisation work like an addiction and is there an element of Stockholm Syndrome to it? I wondered hy this young man decided to kill on that day and not others? Did he plan it all along and pull the wool over the authorities eyes, or did something happen, a trigger that made him snap back into his seemingly former radical self? We know that with addicts a stressor will trigger relapse and that addicts are usually termed as "recovering alcoholics" or something in recognition that its not something you really recover from, should we think of the radicalised as recovering in a similar way? I don't think however robust a deradicalisation program is that it will ever be 100% effective. Obviously the focus now is on Islamism, but what about other people who have been radicalised, maybe by the far right and thier equally hateful ideologies, I think it would be a mistake to go for a one size fits all deradicalisation program.

I agree with Cassis about capital punishment, I do understand the urge for it, but I think its something that should be resisted and that we lessen ourselves ith capital punishment. Also it dosen't really work, its not a deterent and never has been.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
3-Dec-2019 13:50 Message #4764079
It seems to boil down to - what price do we put on life in UK?

Specifically is the Electorate/Taxpayer willing to fund the circa £40k pa per prisoner to keep eg terrorists locked up lifelong?

wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
3-Dec-2019 18:48 Message #4764086
Yes I am willing to pay that, the alternative is to make martyrs out of people who crave martyrdom, it would further their narrative as martyrdom would be guaranteed, where would the punishment or deterence be in that? Boydell you always make iinteresting and thoughtful points but I do think you put to much importance on how much things cost, lifes not a balance sheet with black columns and red ones. If we thought totally in terms of cost then wouldn't that be a case for killing disabled people, sick people, old people who were no longer able to contribute economically? Also I passionately believe that the chance of redemption should also be possible although I admit there are limits to this belief, there are some I would be very reluctant to give a second chance to let alone a third, but execution should never be an option. That is also different to when the police have to shoot someone like they did this most recent attacker, they believed he had a suicide vest and in those circumstances I think shoot to kill is the only option.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
3-Dec-2019 20:50 Message #4764095
I have to agree with Boydel, frequently in life and especially on these forums, money is the only thing that drives society. No matter how many people talk about money not being everything, that there are more things in life, they would soon retract that statement if they were begging on the streets with no future.
The whole essence of capitalism is that it puts a financial value on everything and is a balance sheet with black and red columns, the only reason we don't overtly kill people is because we as a society have decided to accept the costs of the people you mention, although I am sure there will be parents/families out there would say we already do it if the cost of medication exceeds what we are willing to pay, be under no illusions, if you or I become too expensive to keep alive, this society would allow us to die.
Apologies for detracting from the original thread, but cost is a part of the argument for or against the chosen punishment.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey
3-Dec-2019 22:02 Message #4764098
Yes Terry - in general terms Govt decides what they deem a reasonable amount of tax to collect and then apportions to the usual recipients - with the relative proportions changing from time to time as a result of specific pressure groups - but relevantly an increase for one sector will be at the expense of other sectors - though NHS/Education/Pensions tend to be protected from cuts - but with those big ticket sectors retaining what they get there is little scope for big increases elsewhere.

As for the "cost" of the elderly/sick we already have NICE policing the cost effectiveness of new drugs on market - and if a certain drug costing say £30,000 pa needs to be given to say 1000 people to prolong the life of a handful by just a few months each then that drug is not licenced in UK. So yes there is covert culling of certain sectors of the population via deprivation of necessary financial resources - eg the 727 rough sleeper deaths last year - which though primarily due to alcohol/narcotic overdoses maybe could have been helped with adequate NHS resource around rehab/MH etc.

In terms of this thread - lifelong prison term for a single young terrorist in their 20s could cost say £2.5 million at today's prices or with a 3% pa inflation cost factored in nearer £5 million a head. That in turn means we take the whole of the Income Tax/NI paid by 6 average paid workers and give it to the prison service. Over 99.99% of the population would be very glad not to have to personally make such decisions - esp so as W'hen rightly says execution makes martyrs of them and could thus be an incentive rather than a deterrent.
Sea  Female  Essex
5-Dec-2019 10:49 Message #4764194
Personally I see terrorist as the enemy that we should be at war with with. Their sole aim is to maim and kill as many as possible. To prevent continued re offenses and even more innocent people being killed, it would be better to reintroduce the death penalty in these circumstances. Yes, can understand the thinking of those, who go along with the supposed teaching of the church, 'Thy shall not kill', 'love thine enemy', 'turn the other cheek' etc. etc. But even the church itself does not always go along with this. I don't recall hearing of the church intervening, when any wars, first, second, etc. etc. and saying that it was against the teachings of the church, for people to go off to war, with intentions of killing our enemies. Nor do I know if anybody did refuse to go to war, due to their christian faith and beliefs. Maybe there were? But could have been difficult to justify, if the church was singing, 'Onward Christian soldiers' and saying things such as, may God be with you etc. at the time. But there have just been so many recent cases of many people losing their lives due to these terrorist. It is also very easy for even more to get into our country, with so many people traffickers in operation, bringing unknowns in. We really do need to get tough. Is it worth the risk of more innocent people being killed? The recent case could have seen far more losing their lives than two, if brave people had not intervened. If he had been shot the fist time around then those young people would still be here today. And as to it not being a deterrent; well if terrorist are no longer with us, then they cannot commit further crimes. Definitely a deterrent. But why should the taxpayer be forced to fund the board and lodgings of these people in comfy cells, especially when they are most likely to be planning the next spate of killings when they are released? The safety of innocent people should be paramount. Terrorist should never be given the chance, to commit such atrocities again.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
5-Dec-2019 11:08 Message #4764199
I'm not a Christian and don't follow its teachings which I agree are contradictory. I disagree about treating terrorists as war criminals outside of an actual battle field, I think it legitimises them and thier cause by saying we take it that seriously and don't forget not all terrorist are Islamists, some are white British and far right. People smuggling is a problem and border forces are ill prepared and under resoursed, but not everyone coming to this country ilegally is a terrorist and I don't think they should be treated as such either.

I think the way this conversation has gone, all crime and punishment and capital punishment at that shows how confused we are and unprepared we are for our way of life to be challenged, if killing is our only answer then we have a serious lack of imagination and it shows how fragile and insecure we are about the rightness of the values we supposedly live by.
NoSaint  Female  Devon
7-Dec-2019 07:44 Message #4764358
We all know something should be done and must be done and should be done but there are no easy answers once you dismiss the knee jerk reactions.
Colonel_Blink  Male  Buckinghamshire
7-Dec-2019 21:01 Message #4764429
There will always be some offenders that should not be released for a very long time if at all but for most the only sensible way forward is rehabilitation.
Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire
7-Dec-2019 22:55 Message #4764440
But the point is, what do we do when rehabilitation can't work?
Fact is, the most dangerous offenders are the ones most likely to be immune to rehabilitation; and that can be a significant number.
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire
7-Dec-2019 23:21 Message #4764443
When rehabilitation can’t work especially in the case of terrorists and multi-murderers then the offenders should serve very long sentences and if released should be held continually under strict observation.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
8-Dec-2019 10:48 Message #4764479
If rehab can't work then we just have to warehouse them for as long as it takes.
Cassis  Female  Cambridgeshire
8-Dec-2019 16:56 Message #4764516
And there are problems with that WH
There already are with Cat A prisoners in Max Secure who are ageing but whose risk factors remain too high for de-categorization and thus movement to anything other than Max Secure prison. As the age and number of such prisoners increases we run into the problem of men (and I work only in the male sector) who are becoming senile and showing signs of dementia. The wing of a max secure prison isn't really appropriate but that's all that's available to them. I can't go into too much detail but, believe me, there's only a patch-up system working at the moment. As the prison population continues to age, this is going to be a massive problem.
The other way of looking at "lock them up forever" is the management problems it creates. If a man has no prospect of release then he has no real incentive to work with the system. Such prisoners can, and do, present disruptive and ever present danger to other prisoners, staff, and the functioning of the whole system.

1 2 Next   Last  

 Back to top

 Help with conversations