September 21, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Plans to call for Baines removal on hold. Let’s campaign for rehabilitation!

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Colin Wilson2webThank goodness we have some commonsense shown by the minsters of our government calling for Cayman’s Police Commissioner, David Baines, removal at such a critical time.

And there have been recently some pluses with arrests for murder suspects, illegal weapons, and drugs.

Baines’ main problem to me, is that he always seem uncomfortable when he deals with the public and his press releases contain so much waffle it is difficult to know exactly what he is saying.

The self praise we sometimes get in the police reports is also not clever PR. Self praise is worthless.

The only praise for the police that matters is when, we the public, give it.

And there is praise to be had from us at the recent arrests.

We can only hope that they really do have the guilty ones charged and there is no mess up with the many technicalities that must be adhered to with the reporting and the rest of the paperwork and compliances.

Who said a policeman’s lot is not a happy one? – (Pirates of Penzance – Gilbert & Sullivan)

The 2014 statistics show crime is on the increase over 2013 (total crimes committed over 2013 risen by 13%) except for aggravated burglaries – down from 7 to 5. That is not much comfort compared to attempted burglaries, which have increased by 34 and the number of successful break-ins, excluding those that were aggravated, had increased by 18. This rise in burglaries contributed to 7 per cent in serious crimes. This is not good at all because the increase in 2014 over 2012 was 41%!

Baines has suggested contributing factors to the increases in burglaries one being the lack of jobs.

“‘Give us jobs and we won’t have to break into your houses” was an example he used. I cannot say that is much of an excuse. If everyone who hasn’t got a job in the world went on a rampage of burglarizing there would be complete chaos.

Drug addiction is most certainly a big factor and these successive dumb government approaches to half way houses and drug rehabilitation programmes is madness. It costs more to keep a prisoner behind bars than it does to put money into the former.

Ken Clarke the British Justice Secretary said in a speech in 2013 it costs £38,000 a year to send someone to prison – more than it costs to send a boy to Eton.

Eton is one of the most expensive private boarding schools that has educated nineteen British Prime Ministers and generations of the aristocracy and has been referred to as the chief nurse of England’s statesmen.

Clarke has called for a rehabilitation revolution and he is right.

Cherie Booth QC also weighed in with:

The fact is community punishment – and it is punishment – is cheaper than putting people in prison and for many it is more effective.

“In the long run you save money because you can actively stop bad behaviour. At the moment with prisons overcrowded, it is not possible to change people’s behaviour.

“There are times when there are no alternatives to prison – because that is what someone deserves. But other times doing work in the community would be better.

“It is not a quick fix but in the end it is a better spending of money.”

Martin Narey, former director general of the Prison Service in the UK agreed.

“Ken’s right when he says the virility of penal policy has for too long been measured by the number of people we lock up.

“I ran the Prison Service for seven years, and I believe imprisonment can work – but it can’t when prisons are desperately overcrowded and so many prisoners are there for only a few weeks – or sometimes a few days.

“I’m entirely relaxed about the prospect of greater private sector involvement. Whether it’s the public, private or voluntary sector, if we can have successful rehabilitation in the community, it will be cheaper, more effective and will cut crime.

“If we had fewer people in prison, we could make prison work.”

Baines also mentioned the lack of rehabilitation here.

“The problem remains that with limited post sentence support or rehabilitation, offenders serve a prison sentence and then are released and invariably go right back to committing burglaries to get money to live,” he said.

Anyone want to join me on this campaign?

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