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To want life in prison to mean life in prison

(204 Posts)
drnoitall Tue 18-Feb-14 09:33:16

For horrendously serious crimes.
Watching the news this morning and from What I understand a decision will be made today about whether or not England and Wales will uphold the decision for life in prison to mean whole of life in prison for people who commit the most abhorant crimes or to bow down to Europe who call it unlawful.
I'm astonished that a human rights lawyer used the word "degrading" in reference to prisoners reaching old age in prison during a whole life sentence.
AIBU to absolutely want life to mean life for people who commit vile crimes against people.

MiniSoksMakeHardWork Tue 18-Feb-14 11:34:11

We already have review points in life sentences once tariff has been reached. I have no idea what is being proposed so will look. But how different is it to what we actually have, or is it a case of people MIT really understanding how sentencing works?

SaucyJack Tue 18-Feb-14 11:35:11

If offenders are given a life sentence with no possibility of parole, then that undermines the concept of rehabilitation.

I'm fine with that meself. I just think certain crimes are so terrible that there is no coming back from them. Noone should have an automatic right to a second chance.

Tracey Connelly served five years. Noone can call that justice with a straight face.

BarbarianMum Tue 18-Feb-14 11:37:51

I have no problem with life meaning life in certain, heinous cases. I think you could achieve justice with that principle combined with a system (like the excellent Norwegian one) where the emphasis was largely on the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders.

Chummiestwin Tue 18-Feb-14 11:38:22

I am not sure if some of you realise what horrific crimes some commit. We are not talking about your petty criminal, drug addict, but those who have inflicted depraved acts of cruelty and murder upon another!

K8Middleton Tue 18-Feb-14 11:42:49

Yabu and missing the point. All that is being asked for are periodic reviews where we check to make sure someone should still be there. If you look at sentencing today vs sentencing in the 1960s you will observe the concept of "serious" has changed massively for some crimes. That is a good thing and continuously evaluating and appraising our justice system is what makes us a civilised and humane place to live.

They won't be letting the worst criminals out on the streets so you can put your pitchfork away.

BarbarianMum Tue 18-Feb-14 11:46:54

But there is no point reviewing sentances if there is no possibility of release, is there?

So the question is 'Are some crimes o heinous that the need to punish the offender outways the need to rehabilitate them?'

If the answer is 'yes' then it seems cruel to offer false hope of release.

DuckworthLewis Tue 18-Feb-14 11:48:04

it seems cruel to offer false hope of release

To you perhaps, their argument is that some hope is better than none.

sashh Tue 18-Feb-14 11:48:29

If you keep people in prison for the whole of their lives you end up with at least one prison that is, in reality, a nursing home, a very expensive one.

A life sentence is that, even if you are released it is 'on licence' and you can be recalled.

If you are found guilty of murder in this country you can only be sentenced to life. One of the proposals that could be introduced to allow for sentences of 50 or 100 years, that way you would be eligible to be considered for parole at half way thorough your sentence.

But how can you tell relatives that their loved one is only worth 20 years? Or 30 or 50?

It puts a value on the deceased's life, it makes their death not as bad as another murder, or worse than another murder.

Example

At the moment there is someone serving 2 life terms for the Soham murders.

At the same time there is someone serving one life sentence for killing April Jones.

If you were a relative of any of those three little girls how would you feel if the killers had different sentences?

DreamingofSummer Tue 18-Feb-14 11:48:52

Beeyump

oooops

Hopkins/Holmes/HarrietHarman anything beginning with H will do.

grin

ageofgrandillusion Tue 18-Feb-14 11:49:29

There is more than just Norway though. Some places have very severe justice systems and very low crime rates. The deterrent is high enough. We seem to have the worst of both worlds - an overly lenient justic system AND a poor rehab system. Personally, on issues such as Baby P where there is torture etc involved, I would introduce an exceptional cases rule and hang the fuckers.

DreamingofSummer Tue 18-Feb-14 11:52:26

WooWoo

<<Prison should be less about rehabilitation and more about punishment and protection for the public IMO.

It is crazy that out reoffending rates are so high, especially for lower level crimes, and that to me suggests that there isn't enough punishment in prison. >>

That's a total non sequitor. If the reoffending rates are so high it's because there isn't enough rehabilitation not too much.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 18-Feb-14 11:52:49

I think that the degrading of the life tariff is related to the rise in popularity for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Some of the people growing old in prison now may well have only just missed the death penalty for their crimes (last execution was in 1964, the younger of the murders would now be 70 if he had had a life tariff instead). They should be counting their blessings that they committed their crimes in a more understanding environment.

If someone has been given a whole life sentence then there only chance for review should be through the appeals system or if new evidence comes to light.

MrsAMerrick Tue 18-Feb-14 11:54:42

saucy I think you are missing the point. Under a system predicated on rehabilitation, everyone should have the right to reviews. There will be some people who end up staying in prison for the whole of their lives under this system, others who will be released into the community under supervision. What you can't have, imo, is a system where some people are deemed worthy of having their potential rehabilitation reviewed and assesed, and others aren't.

OP, if you want to throw out the notion of potential rehabilitation, with what do you want to replace it? If you opt for a purely punitive system you are basically saying that there is no point in trying to get anyone to understand the reasons behind their crime (whether that be shoplifting or murder), so the punishment has to "fit the crime." Personally, I think society would be a much poorer place if we went down that road. If you compare reoffending rates in, say the US (which has fairly punitive laws in most states) and Norway (which focusses much more on rehabilitation), you will see that there's quite a strong argument for the rehabilitation approach.

Chummiestwin, I think we all know the difference between petty criminals and sadistic murderers, and of course the type and length of sentence needs to be varied accordingly, but not the principles undermining our justice system.

YABVU

The point is about reviewing every once in a while because people change over a lifetime. It is about saying that however bad a crime it is possible to repent and transform into someone who would never repeat the crime. You should not be sentenced at 20 for a brutal murder and then chucked into a dark hole. The case should be looked at after 25 years or so and reviewed, maybe every 5 years, to see if you are still the same person capable of such a crime and not a different person.

There is a massive disconnect between the public desire to punish for punishment sake and what research repeatedly shows works to bring down crime. Long sentences and hard punishment doesn't work. It just makes some people feel a bit better and more vindicated.

PGTip Tue 18-Feb-14 12:01:49

People who don't respect the human rights of others don't deserve to have their own respected.

SaucyJack Tue 18-Feb-14 12:06:09

What you can't have, imo, is a system where some people are deemed worthy of having their potential rehabilitation reviewed and assesed, and others aren't.

I'm not missing the point- just disagreeing with you. I personally think you absolutely can and should have a system in which some people are deemed not worthy or capable of rehab due to the severity of their crime(s).

SaucyJack Tue 18-Feb-14 12:07:18

You should not be sentenced at 20 for a brutal murder and then chucked into a dark hole.

In some cases, then yes- you really should.

Does the victim get a second go at life?

By that reasoning PG, people who don't respect the human rights of serious offenders don't therefore deserve to have their human rights respected. That doesn't make sense! confused

gordyslovesheep Tue 18-Feb-14 12:11:13

Yabu and failing to understand the thing you are opposing

And I have been the 'victim' of a very serious crime .

DreamingofSummer Tue 18-Feb-14 12:16:45

I wouldn't like to share a jury room with some of the haters on this thread.

Fairenuff Tue 18-Feb-14 12:17:34

Re-offending would be 0% if they were in prison for life.

MrsAMerrick Tue 18-Feb-14 12:28:17

But saucy, surely the potential for rehabilitation lies within the person themself, not in the nature of the crime?

Chummiestwin Tue 18-Feb-14 12:28:42

Ooh hug a murderer day today

WooWooOwl Tue 18-Feb-14 12:30:22

That's a total non sequitor. If the reoffending rates are so high it's because there isn't enough rehabilitation not too much.

In my view, reoffending rates are so high because there isn't enough deterrent.

It shouldn't always be about rehabilitation, we aren't talking about people with an illness who have created victims unwillingly. These are adults with control over themselves who have actively chosen to commit a crime. They don't need rehabilitation as if they are suffering from an eating disorder or something, they need to know that choosing to commit the crime has dire enough consequences for them that they choose the other option of not committing the crime.

People need to be scared enough of the consequences of committing the crime that they choose not to do it.

ReallyTired Tue 18-Feb-14 12:30:48

No one worried about the human rights of the victims. Many victims of sadistic murderers suffered rather more than being thrown into a "dark hole". Sarah Payne was not guilty of any crime, yet her suffering and that of her family is unthinkable. She was only eight years old when she was raped and murderd. What about her rights and that of her family to family life? (Or simply to life?)

I feel that there are tiny number of prisoners who should be chucked into a metaphorical dark hole for the rest of their living days. If they repent of their crime then prehaps they will have forgiveness in the after life - who knows?

"There is a massive disconnect between the public desire to punish for punishment sake and what research repeatedly shows works to bring down crime. Long sentences and hard punishment doesn't work. It just makes some people feel a bit better and more vindicated."

A justice system does have an element of punishement as well as deterent and in appriopate cases - rehabilitation. I have no objection to reviews, but I think that in many cases it would just give false hope.

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