Every time I open a newspaper, it seems we are getting closer and closer to the 18th century, when the poor were seen as criminals, and many people were homeless and unemployed. The prisons were sources of infection, especially jail fever, or typhus, which often spread to the magistrates and judges. The jails charged for food, so anyone imprisoned for debt had to pay for the privilege of not being able to work in order to payoff the debt before they died in their cells.
So, the latest big idea, after laying waste to the benefits and legal system, the government has come up with another brilliant proposal – to make criminals help pay for their own trials.
Apparently the present system sees nearly 1.5 million defendants each year, and the current year set to hit the £665 million mark, proposals are now afoot to make criminals pay for their trials.
Many of the criminals are repeat offenders. They commit crimes because they cannot find work. What little effort used to be put into prevention of reoffending is being slashed, so this revolving door prison service will only get worse. With the few exceptional wealthy criminals, where will any of this money come from?
Oh, and they are planning to cut back on legal aid for criminals, so the number of criminals will probably increase. That’s in addition to all those in debt and other problems that are now being denied Legal Aid, so more of us are now at risk of getting a conviction for something.
Maybe the solution is to abolish the court system altogether, cut out the middleman – and draw ballots on who should be banged up. Maybe if some of the government spent some time inside they might show a little understanding of the growing underclass of this Isles.