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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.

OlympiaFox Tue 25-Mar-14 23:01:55

When the death penalty was banned, there were promises that murderers and the like would never be released. Just because the ultimate punishment was being banned didn't mean that the seriousness which vile crimes were treated would be lessened by weak sentencing.

Of course, everywhere the death penalty was banned saw murder, rape, gbh, being treated with far less severity than before because the goal posts changed. Life has become much cheaper. I don't like the idea of the state having the right to kill people because of the potential of occasionally getting it wrong but I like pro criminal attitudes even less.

The state has a responsibility to protect the victims, to protect the rest of society from becoming victims, the whole point of the criminal justice system is to make society as safe as possible from violence and disruption. There is no freedom if you can't even walk down the street safely.

When criminal rights are put to the top of the agenda, when the rights of murderers, rapists, gang members, come before the rights of the victims and their families not to have to pass them on the street and future victims and their families not to be raped, murdered, terrorised, lose family members to them, there is no justice.

Some crimes are so horrendous that the perpetrators should never be released regardless of claims of change, a genuinely remorseful, changed person would be tortured by the horrors they committed and not want to unleash more pain onto their victims by demanding release. Most of these people are incapable of rehabilitation, nobody with a shred of humanity would be capable of raping and murdering a child or adult, beating an innocent person into brain damage for 'fun', participating in a violent gang rape and they should be recognised as the evil scum they are and treated as such.

Those who take perverse pleasure in trying to justify and excuse their actions, demeaning the importance of the damage inflicted on their victims are just as evil as they are. They wouldn't be so understanding and sympathetic toward the thugs if they were the victim but they don't believe they'll ever be the victim so they don't care.

The law should not be determined by people who don't care for the rights of innocent people. Society is made up by all of the people and the majority should get to decide what type of society they'd like to live in. Most of us would prefer to live in one that protects innocents and keeps scum off the streets for as long as necessary.

Itsallinyourheaddear Tue 25-Mar-14 21:13:42

Off you trot then, if that's all you think of the opinions of victims of crime.

CaptainSinker Sat 22-Feb-14 10:39:15

Wandered onto this thread.
Realised I fell down an internet wormhole to the Daily Mail comments board.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Fri 21-Feb-14 19:30:31

public funds are limited, i cant bear the thought of april jones killer, and all the others using up public funds for their human rights, when they have taken a life, and destroyed those lives of the person taken...i think the money would go to better victim support.

Fairenuff Fri 21-Feb-14 18:39:24

let's hope this one isn't back on our streets in 27 years time

ReallyTired Wed 19-Feb-14 21:53:42

I suspect that a lot of people in jail have suffered appauling abuse as children, been in care, can't read and basically no one cared a damn about them as they grew up. I am sure that there are lots of prisoners with ADHD, dyslexia, autism as well as other learning difficulties. Many prisoners are people who commit GBH or manlaughter while experiencing red mist and being incredibly drunk.

However this thread is about people who have been given a whole life sentence. These people make up a tiny percentage of the prison population. There are a tiny group of murderers who were cold and calculating. Their actions were planned and were not simply a mistake.
There are some actions where special needs or a person's background are not an excuse.

It would be really interesting to have the opinon of whole lifers on whether other whole lifers should have a review of their sentence after ten years. I suspect the prison population would be very hard on people who murder or rape children.

jamtoast12 Wed 19-Feb-14 21:50:26

My partner has worked in prisons for 15 years and can tell you truthfully, they are definitely easy, many don't care about returning as its so easy for them. He says they are exactly like described in media with sky, xbox and mobiles are rife...these are high category too. Its a holiday camp compared to what you may think.

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Wed 19-Feb-14 21:49:41

Also did anger management and went in a fucking course about women with PMT! shock

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Wed 19-Feb-14 21:47:12

nenny just to add! my dd1 father was in prison from a boys prison in and out sporadically he was 30. He spent 10 Xmas behind bars.

I visited a fair few.

In a rather lush open prison , the used to throw beer over the wall so the inmates could get pissed.

They would have a macdonalds with them when they came back from weekend home visit .

In a normal cat b ( I thnk)
He always had a Nintendo, TV,had a job. Had money fir tuck.

Did three levels in gym trainer

Got his teeth fixed

Did a yearly Christmas show

It was piss.

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Wed 19-Feb-14 21:40:38

jock I don't think anybody is born evil.

But there is the age old debate, nature over nurture which in all this time nobody has really got to the bottom of.

I do believe some people have traits that make it more acceptable to them to take part in heinous crimes.

More prisoners than we probably can even imagine May have some form of SN. What we have to be careful is that doesn't become the basis of an excuse.

I once read some where that children form the sense of what's right and wrong at the age of seven. You and I have a sense of what's right and wrong. If you get to be an adult and still don't have that sense and commit terrible crimes, you have to be taken off the streets to protect the public.

Some people do rehabilitate.
Some people wont and those people will have a team of professionals ensuring, or should be, that they stay off our streets away from our vulnerable.

Your right some may even have mental illness, arsonists, phycopaths, with all your good will these people can't be saved. So we have to protect the pubic.

JockTamsonsBairns Wed 19-Feb-14 21:15:25

Angela, I agree - thank goodness for posters like nennypops and sauvignon as I usually despair of threads like these.

At the risk of lighting the touch fire, there's a couple of points to add. Earlier up thread, some posters talk of people being "born evil". Are we really saying that there are newborn babies in our midst who have "evil" in their beings? Or is it more likely that there are external and environmental factors at play? Sorry, no peer reviewed research findings at my fingertips - but I'm struggling to come up with any names of horrific serial killers who have come from naice supportive middle class functional families. Happy to be corrected on this if anyone else can.

Also, I'm wondering about the mindset of these horrific murderers. Ordinary people, lets say the proverbial " you and I", cannot comprehend carrying out these acts of torture. Perhaps I could tentatively suggest an element of mental illness, or SN, could be present in those people who can and do carry out such heinous crimes? I'm rubbish at linking, but I'm sure there must be figures out there somewhere regarding prison population who have such diagnoses. Just a thought.

AngelaDaviesHair Wed 19-Feb-14 19:51:12

Thank you for those brilliant posts, nennypops.

ReallyTired Wed 19-Feb-14 19:05:11


If you choose to do the crime then you should be prepared to do the time.

Prison is not designed to be a pleasent experience. However a young victim had no say in being horribly murdered. Jessica Wells and Holly chapman had no say in their treatment. Compared with the Rosemary West or Tobin's victims prisoners live in a 5 star hotel. Prisoners certainly enjoy a better standard of living than much of the third world.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 18:29:17

The idea that prisons are comfortable and easy is a bit of a myth. It is reasonably correct in relation to the lowest category prisons for low risk prisons, but not the others. In the high categories, prisoners are sharing cells with one or two others and an open toilet, they can be locked up for hours every day, they have little or no choice in terms of what they eat, they have no choice as to what they wear, their cells and bodies are subject to search at any time without notice, they see their familes only rarely and have very limited chances to phone them, their food may well have been spat or urinated in, they have to shower in public, they can be made to do very unpleasant and uncomfortable work, and if someone doesn't like them they will be in serious danger all day every day. You can incur another prisoner's dislike for something utterly trivial, and can also get into serious trouble if you refuse to do things like helping with drug smuggling. Far from the the popular myth of prisoners having Sky and X-boxes, most are lucky if they have a TV with the basic terrestrial channels, and will have little or no choice about what they watch: the reality is that prisons want them to have TVs because it is a reasonably easy way of keeping them under control and stopping them from getting bored and therefore potentially dangerous. It is apparently very difficult to sleep at night because of all the prisoners calling out of their windows and banging on the pipework.

Friends who have had cause to go into institutions like Broadmoor tell me that they are utterly horrible - most of the disadvantages above coupled with the fact that you are associating all day every day with seriously ill and disturbed people.

I'm absolutely not saying that anyone should feel sorry for prisoners, but I get very tired of the tabloid myth about prisons being like 5 star hotels. When I'm dictator, any journo that perpetuates that one will automatically be sentenced to three months in Belmarsh and will be required to proclaim publicly at the end of that time whether he still thinks it's a luxury hotel.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 18:17:33

But there is no sentence that is an absolute deterrent. As experience in the US demonstrates, even the death sentence isn't a deterrent. It's worth remembering that it was still in the force at the time most of the Moors murders were committed, and it didn't stop Brady and Hindley for one moment.

wispa31 Wed 19-Feb-14 17:55:22

Life should mean life. You commit crimes of that seriousness that requires life in prison uou do the fucking time and quit whingeing about human rights. Fuck off. You forfeited that when you did what you did. Sickens me all this bullshit about their rights being violated! Sentances are not harsh enough imo. They should be a deterrant, they are not.

JanineStHubbins Wed 19-Feb-14 16:55:43

Thankfully for you (and everyone else), StepAway, juries have no discretion over sentencing. They simply return a verdict. Judges hand down sentences.

I know I am not well informed but I do wish the 'punishment' fitted the crime and whatever the sentence it stuck. Why is what moors murderers did worse than what other killers of children have done? or any other killer for that matter. I can see the argument for crimes committed in anger rather than premeditated but still its taken someone's life. how are they rated? intent, degree of violence? number of victims? lack of remorse? I just hope I am never called for Jury service as I find it hard to see beyond the crime.

ReallyTired Wed 19-Feb-14 14:03:13

"Unfortunately, however, there is nothing we can do to make a crime unhappen or bring a murdered person back to life. None of that means we should descend to the same levels as the criminals we are condemning."

We do not descend to their level. Punishment is limited by the courts. If we had an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth approach then these criminals would be slowly tortured to death just like their victims were.

A prisoner has three meals a day, shelter, medical care and prehaps access to exercise or entertainment if they are good. They are also free from torture. The only punishment they are enduring is the loss of their freedom. In fact the even the most serious offender enjoy a better existance than many people around the world or their victims.

I see no reason to release a terminally ill person who has commited a sadistic murder. The whole point of a whole life sentence is just that they die in prison. They don't get to complete their bucket list or see the world before they die. They have lost their freedom for ever as a PUNISHMENT!!

The only circumstances I can see for a sadistic murderer not dying in prison is if they need medical care that cannot provided in a prison hospital. I have no problem with the likes of Rosemary West or Tobin being taken out of prison to recieve Chemo or an operation if they needed it. I have no issue with such people being taken to an intensive care ward if they needed it.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 13:20:48

I get very tired of people who come up with the question "What about the human rights of the victims?" as if that's the end of the argument. Society absolutely respects the human rights of the victims, that is why there is a massive structure in place to try to protect people as far as possible and to find and punish criminals. Unfortunately, however, there is nothing we can do to make a crime unhappen or bring a murdered person back to life. None of that means we should descend to the same levels as the criminals we are condemning.

My understanding of the review process in relation to people with whole life sentences is that such sentences do need to be kept under review precisely because of changes in public thinking and the possibility of new evidence, and also because we might want to consider release for someone who is, say, terminally ill. None of that means that such people will ever be released in anything other than the very rarest of circumstances, but it is wrong to close the door on review completely.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 13:14:34

No, offences committed inside prison are not considered 're-offending' are they.

Of course they are! If a prisoner murders a prison officer, he will be charged with a new offence of murder and sentenced again.

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Wed 19-Feb-14 13:08:21

There are some people currently serving whole life tariffs whose crimes were so abhorrent that they should never be allowed back into society. In my view, someone who is capable of crimes such as those of The Moors murderers (for example) are obviously deeply unhinged people, and all the rehabilitation in the world won't change the people that they are.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 12:56:04

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

On the contrary, this increases the chances of reoffending. Put someone in a situation where he has no hope of release and it is impossible to impose any greater sentence on him, and what incentive does he have to obey the law? It puts prison staff into massive danger.

ReallyTired Wed 19-Feb-14 12:49:17

Prison is a very expensive thing. Better to have good probation systems that monitor people within the community for life. That's what life means

I don't think that cost should come into it. In the past sadistic murderers were given the death penalty. I don't think that a criminal should be given a soft sentence just to save money.

The probation service is there to montior people who have made a mistake and are unlikely to re offend. A brutal murder is far more than a mistake and the culpit deserves to rot in jail.

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Wed 19-Feb-14 11:14:47

That one little discretion could be the murder or rape of some one else. How would the authorities explain that to the victims family's.

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