Yesterday Justice Secretary Michael Gove announced that prisoners who make an effort to earn educational qualifications or learn useful skills will be released early. Perhaps he has been reading back-numbers of The Times.
December 7th 2010.
In all the discussion and speculation about the Criminal Justice Bill and prison populations there is no radical thought about the way sentences are calculated.
Given the concern particularly about the rate of re-offending, and the difficulty for released prisoners of finding work, rather than imposing sentences of particular lengths we should consider more constructive impositions.
Were a prisoner told that release would follow immediately following the award of GCSE maths and English, for example, or some practical trade qualification, achievements which would improve the prospects of employment, a boost to self-respect and an incentive to better use of time while inside, then both the size and expense of the prison system could well be reduced.
Why can’t disaffected adolescent prisoners be released from schools, especially now that they have been told that they are sufficiently grown up to vote in the next referendum? Released from their resentment at being treated like naughty children they might start the process of growing up.