Friday, December 01, 2006

Penal Profits

Since 1997, the Labour government has passed over 120,000 pages of legislation. ‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime,’ has become a favourite Blairite battlecry

The vast bulk of this legislation comes via the Home Office, which has fashioned a total of 59 bills since 1997. Not content with the fact that 10 years in office has led Labour to introduce over 3,000 new offences, The recent Queen’s Speech informed us that the Home Office believes there is not enough legislation. Five more bills were announced.

Where the hell is all of this leading?

The answer comes from this morning’s Guardian. At the moment British prisons are full like never before – the highest in Europe in fact – 80,000 this week and rising! Some 8,000 new prison places are needed we are told. Will the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, cough up the requisite sum needed to incarcerate these scallywags? Not on your nelly! He obstinately refuses.

To the rescue comes the Home Office with a brilliant idea. ‘Let’s offer the public shares in prisons’, they say. ‘Get the public to invest in a company that can build jails and then rent them out!’

As the Guardian reports:

‘One incentive for small investors is that the government's punitive penal policy has seen prison numbers rise relentlessly over the past 10 years and would appear to guarantee a steady stream of rental income with no apparent shortage of prison "tenants".’

Who says crime doesn’t pay?


1 comment:

John said...

Hmmm. "120,000 pages" seems impressive - but is it really?
For example how does it compare with the previous ten year period?
And what exactly is meant by "legislation" here? At a guess it includes all the secondary [delegated]legislation that is never debated in Parliament. Stuff like what width the lines in street parking bays should be.
That makes 120,000 over ten years a lot less impressive.

Again 59 Bills over ten years from one of the "top three" Government Departments is hardly excessive. Remember "New" Labour is a political party elected to office on a promise to make capitalism more effective. And for that you need legislation. Lots of it. All of it futile as far as real Socialism is concerned.