Monday 23 May 2005

Parole officers.

Saw a report on the news about these plans (that will almost certainly be abandoned) for criminals sentenced to community service to be made to wear distinctive clothing, such as the orange jumpsuits American convicts wear. I'm not always a traditionalist, but, in this case, I have to say that I'd prefer white with black arrows. But anyway. They interviewed someone from the National Association of Parole Officers, who said that it was a bad idea because, not wanting to be publicly humiliated, more criminals would fail to show up, and then they'd get sent to jail. This, he seemed to think, was a problem. I don't get it. You're convicted of a crime; you're given a sentence; you refuse to carry out that sentence; you therefore get a stiffer sentence. Isn't that how the system's supposed to work? Since when is the normal working of the criminal justice system in itself a reason not to make any changes to the criminal justice system? And, of all people, why is it a parole officer making this spurious complaint? A parole officer is supposed to work for the public by ensuring that only the convicts who obey the rules are allowed to remain free. Instead, they now seem to think they work for criminals by making sure the rules are nice and easy to obey so that convicts' time in jail may be minimised.

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