Saturday 9 March 2013

Huhne, Pryce and Prison

I suppose it is inevitable that Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce will be sent to prison for their chicanery:  the going rate for their crimes is between four months and three years.

The cost of keeping someone in prison for a year averages around £37 000 per person. I suppose it's necessary for us to pay this in this case just to show that, in our justice system at least, there is not one law for the rich and powerful and another for the rest of us. However, it is a foolish waste of money, and a cruel way to treat the couple, just to make a point.

In my view prison sentences should be reserved for those who, if at liberty, are a danger to the public, or as a last resort for those who fail to co-operate with more constructive measures. The proper sentence for Huhne and Price should be community service: there's plenty of litter to pick up, plenty of graffiti to erase.  Community service, couple with probation, is not cost free: it requires organisation, professional supervision, and, in most cases, though probably not in this one, counselling and therapy to steer the malefactor along  more virtuous paths. This would be money well spent.

I doubt if Huhne and Price will come out of prison more criminal than when they went it, but apparently most do. As a Tory once said: "Prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse."

I note that one of the policies of UKIP is to build more prisons.


  1. Codswallop. Perverting the course of justice is a VERY SERIOUS OFFENCE. It undermines the whole justice system. And fining a couple of wealthy people is a totally inappropriate punishment. They both deserve a spell inside.

    But perhaps there should be a mechanism for recovering the cost of a spell inside from the offenders.

  2. Yes, I too thought of charging them for the "hotel costs."

    Be fair: I have not suggest that the offence isn't serious, simply that prison is not the appropriate punishment.

    Neither have I suggested they should be fined. You're right, a fine would be a flea-bite for people as rich as they.

    Community service is the answer. A letter in today's Guardian suggests that M/s Price should use her language skills by teaching English to immigrants, and Mr Huhne should teach the ways of the world to prisoners, without actually being in prison himself. I stick by my suggestions of something less congenial: litter picking up and graffiti removal.

  3. Perhaps three years of cleaning out sewers might be appropriate....

  4. You're a hard,man, Mr Anonymous.