December 14th, 2009

Tough onĂ¢â‚¬Â¦something – update

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I last reported on the pitiful approach to knife-crime sentencing in October 2008.

And it seems things have not gotten any better in the last year.

Guidelines for sentencing those carrying knives tell judges that 12 weeks’ imprisonment should be the starting point for carrying a knife in public.

So you might be surprised to find that just 1 in 5 receives a custodial sentence & this figure has fallen by 25% in the last year.

From July to September last year 7,323 people were caught with a knife. Of these 1,660 were jailed. In the same time this year 6,399 were arrested & 1,215 were sent to prison.

The proportion of offenders given a community or suspended sentence has risen over the last year. Although the number of cautions has gone down, 1 in 4 offenders receive one.

Yet another example of the government talking tough but forgetting to turn words into action.

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  1. Gutsy Kid says:

    This reminds me, I need to do my 3000 word essay on Penal Populism and the Myth of Penal Punitivism. Thank you, 200 :(

    December 14th, 2009 at 23:49

  2. Ben says:

    I imagine that many of these cases would not have made it to court before the change in the law (outlawing blades over 3″ per se), so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they attract low sentences.

    The problem here is that the definition of knife crime has been extended to invert the standard of proof. The defendant now has to prove they had a good reason for carrying it, instead of the prosecution making at least some sort of showing that they had a bad reason.

    This will result in more lower-level arrests and prosecutions, “wave of knife crime” headlines based on those statistics, and, since these extra cases are marginal, low sentences.

    All the more so if the police and prosecution, thinking they have all the evidence they need for a conviction, don’t address the question of intent.

    In other words, the problem is not “the boy scout on his way to whittle a whistle”, but the man who intends to use the knife to intimidate, threaten, rob or wound. The law should distinguish between the two, and the fact that it doesn’t any more is the problem.

    December 15th, 2009 at 09:10

  3. bunk says:

    do we really want the dumb laws this current shower with their direly written, poorly thought out approach, fully enforced and people punished?

    The whole thing is a nonsense, everyone of those muppets in Westminster needs yanking out on their ass and tossed into a sink estate.

    December 15th, 2009 at 10:18

  4. bunk says:

    every one

    December 15th, 2009 at 10:18

  5. anon says:

    Dear Gutsy Kid,
    What few morsels I can toss towards your essay may result in marks deducted by your tutor – so user caution is highly recommended.
    Modern anthropologists and sociologists have long been tinkering with second chance punitivism without any real success. We are all aware of the very deep frustration this has created in police ranks and the strong opposition from the Media to further extension of the principle.

    Any contractual arrangement, whether it be for a paid service of specific quality or an agreement to modify behaviour, is only as good as its rewards and penalties. Human beings are born with inbuilt greed and a high capacity to cheat further complicated by wills of gargantuan obstinacy. If I choose not to be bound by a penalty clause you have imposed upon me, your means of redress must be workably punitive.

    Civilization has long dealt with these downsides to human nature, allowing us to progress from flogging/hanging thieves to inflicting subtle psychological tortures (and resultant injuries) upon criminal minds. In your search for myths GK, look to rehabilitation through incarceration.

    If premature senility has not already disadvantaged me, it seems more likely that the future of punitivism is less in the hands of the anthropologist than it is in the petri dish of the genetic engineer; a mutually developed solution is far preferable.

    Ben makes observations of some profundity in his final paragraphs – have you become a magnet for young philosophers, 200?

    December 15th, 2009 at 11:46

  6. Tony F says:

    I think my head just exploded….

    December 15th, 2009 at 14:41

  7. rafanon says:

    My eyes are bleeding now Melv!

    December 15th, 2009 at 15:31

  8. Brother Random says:

    On the other hand, the doc (and how appropriate this name is given his current idea) has hit on a reasonable solution. Genetic Punishment.

    Splice in something nasty with a set lifespan and you could have criminals suffering (proper suffering) all sorts of nastiness dependant on the crime.

    Throw in some experience and learning and you can make the Genetic Punishment something more subtle. Change of gender preferences, that’d have chav boys walking the straight and narrow (pun intended). Change of skin colour, change of preferred religion, change of preferred football team.

    A million monkeys with typewriters…. Sometimes the laws of averages comes out with a spot of genius. Melvin T Gray you channel the forces of chance.

    December 15th, 2009 at 18:35

  9. Typing pool simian under arrow says:

    I wager Brer Random is well read and familiar with the Island of Dr Moreau. I am very amused when wit is exercised so well.

    He knows I neither foresee nor wish for, cruel punishments of any kind.

    December 15th, 2009 at 20:16

  10. Tony F says:


    December 15th, 2009 at 21:43

  11. anon says:

    Tony F should get his cerebral explosions checked out before a working part sustains damage.

    December 15th, 2009 at 22:50

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