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Is it time for prisoners to face the same rules as elderly in care homes?

(55 Posts)
squarecorners Thu 22-Feb-18 16:56:05

In response to the news that John Warboys had a property worth £2m and still got legal aid, isn't it time for wealthy prisoners to face the same rules as elderly people who have to live in a care home, and that they must pay for their own board on a means tested basis up to a certain limit?
I work with the elderly and have seen many older people having to watch their life savings dwindle away because they need care. People with money who commit crimes, like Vicky Price and Chris Huhne should fund their own imprisonment by having to sell their homes or use their savings down to the same £25000 limit IMO. Life sentences should get nothing.
Interested to know what others think.

RagamuffinCat Thu 22-Feb-18 16:58:34

That actually isn't a bad idea.

ItsAllABitStrangeReally Thu 22-Feb-18 16:59:08

Of course they should. !!

bananawolf Thu 22-Feb-18 17:01:04

The convicted person may have a partner and children living in the family home.
Would this only apply to single people?

PickAChew Thu 22-Feb-18 17:01:22

It would make sense, but wouldn't be particularly fair on partners or dependent children.

Perendinate Thu 22-Feb-18 17:02:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RagamuffinCat Thu 22-Feb-18 17:05:53

I assume it would only apply to their own assets, and would be paid once the house was sold if it was jointly owned, as I believe is the case with care home fees?

expatinscotland Thu 22-Feb-18 17:06:25

It'll never happen.

Didiusfalco Thu 22-Feb-18 17:06:46

I’m not sure about the other bit, but the fact he got legal aid is ridiculous.

bananawolf Thu 22-Feb-18 17:07:40

It would disadvantage people who can't afford to pay for their own legal representation. Additionally people with mental health difficulties are over represented in prison.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 22-Feb-18 17:21:16

Stupid idea. People convicted of a crime and imprisoned are hopefully going to participate in rehabilitation programmes to reform. They are going to be released back into society. If they and their family have been stripped of all assets what are they returning to? Not a great start for reintegration to society. Also the majority of prisoners are already homeless, impoverished or addicted - what assets?

An ignorant and rather MC idea, prison should be about reform and returning to society. Loss of liberty is the punishment. To try and recoup the costs of the justice system from offenders is pointless. I support prisoners being useful, taking part in schemes for training and getting them fit for return to society, opportunities to be functional and in work - much more likely to reduce rates of recidivism.

Older people are not going to be returning to society, their assets, if they have any, are being used to help pay for the huge costs of end of life care. The situation is not comparable to the costs of crime and punishment.

squarecorners Thu 22-Feb-18 17:55:37

If you use the same rules as care homes, the charge is means tested and only applies to assets over approx 25k, and doesn't apply if the assets are jointly held (by a husband or wife). My manager at work has just had her mother in respite care after hospital and is returning to her own home now. They were paying about £900 p/w in care home fees. It wouldn't apply to people who have no assets to start with, just like care homes. Look at someone like Stuart Hall who was worth millions - I don't think he should be allowed to keep hold of his savings when there are people who have never done anything wrong who have to hand over everything they have ever worked for.

letsgomaths Thu 22-Feb-18 18:36:26

I agree there is something perverse about wealthy criminals being given free bed and board at the taxpayer's expense. It's known for some wealthy career criminals to see prison as a "temporary inconvenience". However, I expect both of those are a minority of the prison population, and many prisoners are there because crime is the only way they know of making a living.

A far bigger problem than who pays for prison is drugs: drugs fuel crime, both inside and outside prison. It's extremely easy for drugs to be smuggled in, prisoners often leave more dependent on drugs at the end of their sentence than at the beginning. It's known for dealers to make more money in prison than they do on the outside. It's also very difficult to prosecute those at the very top of drug gangs, because "Mr Big" never gets his hands dirty: his mules and sellers are the ones who end up in prison. Perhaps we need a special sentence for "leading a drugs gang: prison, and confiscation of all assets".

The problem is that prison is the only punishment we have for people we don't know what else to do with, such as prolific shoplifters, tax avoiders, those who commit crime as soon as they leave prison, so they are then guaranteed a bed and three meals a day.

I think there is something to be said for fines being calculated according to income, as they are in Finland. We hear of footballers and bankers paying a measly £500 for speeding at 150 miles an hour, when they should be paying something for which they have to sell their Ferraris. (Small contribution to the prison system!)

And more needs to be done about the law, and sentencing guidelines, so that we don't get so many lenient or non-existent sentences. There are some people who should be serving long prison sentences, such as hit and run drivers who kill (see other thread), and the cyclist who killed a pedestrian (on the pavement) and walked away from court with a fine less than the value of his bike.

QueenLaBeefah Thu 22-Feb-18 18:37:57

Good idea.

youarenotkiddingme Thu 22-Feb-18 18:41:41

Actually there is merit in the idea. Would need proper investigation and policy but I understand the sentiment and how it would and could work.

It's always been a big eat for me that people who commit fraud and place their profit from that on property - get to keep those assets despite being in prisoned - and get released to the benefits of their crime.

Ginorchoc Thu 22-Feb-18 18:47:28

Do you mean if convicted? If the assists are from proceeds of crime they are confiscated and sold off.

Ginorchoc Thu 22-Feb-18 18:48:03

*assets

Viviennemary Thu 22-Feb-18 18:49:00

It's certainly an idea. Why not? And as for dependents. Well if the property was repossessed they'd be out. That happens to families with no criminal record so why should we shed tears for families of criminals.

NapQueen Thu 22-Feb-18 18:52:13

I definetly agree that prison stays should be chargeable.

£25 a night with the option to pay whilst you are there or once out for those on 10y or less sentences. For those on 11y plus sentences it should be payable annually.

Make it taken directly on wages pretax if needs be.

Anyone on whole of life sentences should be stripped of all financial assets in their name (plus whatever share of joint assests they have) with all of that payable directly to the prison.

ChaosNeverRains Thu 22-Feb-18 18:54:54

Do you believe then that partners and children should be held responsible for the crimes of their parent? Because that’s what you’re suggesting if you believe the assets should be sold off.

Also, there’s a difference to being granted legal aid if wealthy (something I also don’t agree with) and having their assets stripped to pay for incarceration if found guilty. The former leads to the latter, but if the person is found not guilty then they will still have been granted legal aid for their defence.

OutyMcOutface Thu 22-Feb-18 18:58:49

All state services should be means tested-legal representation included.

PonderLand Thu 22-Feb-18 18:59:11

I think it's a good idea, my grandma was charged 800pw for 2 years. My grandad just paid it as he didn't want to seem ungrateful to care staff or cause problems with my grandmas care. When he died my dad took over and realised what a mess it all was, he didn't like to ask about money as my grandad was very private, turned out she shouldn't of been paying as her dementia was so bad, couldn't walk/eat/speak/wash etc. He just needed to push for more assessments or something along those.

I agree that assessments should absolutely be done to prisoners, especially those which commit horrible crimes and spend their lives in prison. Obviously people who have committed crimes relating to drugs/prostitution/burglaries/robbery/mugging will not have to pay as they'll have f all anyway. I don't think actual health/mental h care should be charged but the cell/food/water/electricity/gas and clothing should be chargeable.

ChaosNeverRains Thu 22-Feb-18 19:01:51

It's certainly an idea. Why not? And as for dependents. Well if the property was repossessed they'd be out. That happens to families with no criminal record so why should we shed tears for families of criminals. because they’re victims too.

Let’s look at a possible scenario.

Woman lives with man. Man is serial abuser/violent offender. Woman didn’t know when she married him. She falls pregnant and he becomes increasingly violent to the point that he attempts to kill her and she loses their unborn child. Man is convicted of attempted murder and sent to prison. Because he was married to woman half the value of her house is considered to be an asset of his, so woman is evicted from her house, house is sold in order to pay for his prison care and let’s not sympathise with her because people lose their homes in repossessions anyway.

The more I think of it, the more I think it’s a ridiculous and stupid idea.

The families of criminals are more often than not also their victims. Victims of them as people, victims of the society who judges them for having been a part of their lives, and now victims of the state because their assets should be sold from under them?

Yeah, crack on then.

No legal aid absolutely, although I was under the impression that legal aid has been mostly done away with now anyway. But having their family and potentially young and vulnerable children evicted on to the streets is a step too far. Otherwise how do you propose said families should be housed? By the state per chance?

Bluelonerose Thu 22-Feb-18 19:04:26

While I agree in theory I think careful consideration should be made for anyone with a partner and children.
What if they don't agree with what there partner has done and has ended the relationship? Should they still be penalised?

Lots of questions that would need answering but I don't see why it can't be done.

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 22-Feb-18 19:04:28

And yet, this bloke was charged his board and lodging for the three years plus he spent in prison after a wrongful conviction...

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