This is the area of Blue Revolution politics within which the eighteenth-century instincts of the current elite coincide with the eighteenth-century instincts of the public. No one likes “offenders” and the public appetite for revenge and retribution is as stark as the lawyer’s enthusiasm for making money out of them. The system however is well beyond its sell by date and in fact creates problems by providing prison as a kind of sanctuary for offenders, mainly male, who are in every sense dislocated from society. Prison and the criminal justice system neither instils fear of repeat offending nor delivers reform; and forget rehabilitation. For a growing army of offenders, it is a much-needed respite from a lonely world of drink, drugs, mental illness, domestic violence and like so many other ills all created then ignored by a liberal elite who can’t understand the nature of the problem let alone how to deal with it.
No amount of caring social workers, drugs workers or therapists can solve this problem. The problem is societal and the solution is not going to be a solely legislative one. The legislation that has permitted social breakdown is responsible and the solution is to introduce A Blue Revolutionary agenda and to reform the criminal justice system so we only provide places behind high walls to those who threaten us as ordinary people and we use twenty first century technology rather than 18th century penology to punish the rest.
The system processes too many of the people – the sons and daughters of the poor and those without access to wealth – and makes others rich on the back of them. A Blue Revolution will use technological incarceration for offenders who can be “geo fenced” into their own homes; thus, transferring the cost of incarceration to them rather than the state (us as taxpayers). We will use other powers to track and tag offenders and to remove “state” privileges such as the right to foreign travel and to drive depending upon the nature of the offence and the necessity and proportionality associated with keeping an eye on one of our own.
If the Blue Revolution can persuade the public that keeping an offender like say Rolf Harris in his own home tagged, tracked and excluded from any travel as well as fined for his crime, is a legitimate remedy for his offending, we will have made the criminal justice system work for the benefit of the community – for whom protection from harm should be the aim that we are prepared to pay for rather than using retribution as a means of making lawyers and judges very rich and entitled. The law is the last vestige of an essentially feudal power. The justice system which centuries ago used to dispense the justice of the monarch now has more power and status than the monarch herself. How crazy is that?
The final manifesto pledge is to make “justice” cheap but effective using technology.
With other changes the criminal justice system should see shrinkage and the prison populations should consist of a small group of incorrigible and dangerous people for whom access to the community should be managed by the provision of a large wall.