Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Justice Must Serve Society!

With Barlinnie full to bursting, SNP Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill is suggesting we put prisoners out to work on major infrastructure projects, including build programmes associated with the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Restorative justice is something I would normally support, however I suspect today's announcement has more to do with a complete failure to deal with prisoner numbers and not a tough new approach to what criminals should be required to do to pay for their crimes against society.

I believe criminals should be put to work for the communities they have offended, but nor if this puts people into communities who fear their involvement. Building sites can be dangerous places with dangerous tools and equipment and the thought of letting prisoners out on day release with access to potential weapons is something we need to guard against.

If this proposal is indeed about finding ways to reduce the prison population I have news for Mr MacAskill. The Scottish people want its government to stand up for them and to build new prisons if that is what it takes to make prison a deterrent to crime.

Court sentences should mean what they say! One year should mean you serve one year; Life should mean you serve life etc. And if this means prisoner numbers rise in the short term as we keep dangerous people incarcerated while we educate them not to re-offend then we should build the prisons necessary to keep our law abiding majority safe.

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