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A Conservative take on punishment

October 10, 2012

The conservative party have always taken a hard line approach when it comes to crime and punishment but two specific policy proposals have caught my eye in this weeks annual conference.

Firstly, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling (replacement of Ken Clarke) wants to incorporate the process of if a defendant commits a serious crime twice then instead of getting two sentences they just get a life sentence. Grayling suggested that the ‘two strikes and you’re out method would act as a deterrent.’

This seems relatively fair as everyone deserves a second chance but after that your legal luck had ran out.

In his speech he mentioned serious violent attacks or sexual attacks. My only concern is that this will be interpreted very widely and mistakes could be made, there needs to be a consideration of each case (case by case).

As well as this, I can think of a couple of friends who already will be sat there talking about how it comes across as if the government has given up on people.

Is two strikes and you’re out fair? Could this encourage people who would believe they would get life for one incident then committing two? A off-skew argument but one all the same.

The second story with I am in agreement less with is Theresa Mays reforms of allowing the victims of anti-social behavior to choose punishments for those convicted. She claims they would pick from a “list of options” ranging from “restorative” to “punitive”.

Different people and different sections of society react differently to anti-social behavior so for the same acts you could have one individual in a leafy suburb and another on a run down estate with completely different punishments that arguably to not equate to each other.

But as always, time will tell. Changes to punishment of crime largely comes from the media focus on it whereas if the government was to pass acts on legal issues such as the definitions of particular words or combine sections of common law into statute for clarification I would be way more behind it. But alas! No-one but legal pumpkins care about those issues and I cant imagine them appearing on the front page of the Sun…

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