Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An Edwardian Solution To The Problems of Youth - Lock Them Up Until They Mature

In his review of the new book by the admirable - if unfortunately-named - Ms Lynne Truss, (Talk to the Hand: the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life) the Labour MP for Birkenhead, Mr Frank Field, makes an interesting observation. Writing in the New Statesman, the former Minister for Thinking The Unthinkable states that crime levels in Edwardian Britain were so low, and yobbish behaviour so exceptional, that the penal system was able to cope with matters which go unpunished today.
"A quarter of those serving time before the First World War were inside for such misdemeanours as riding a bicycle without lights, playing games in the street, gambling or making lewd comments. If Edwardian criteria for imprisonment were applied in today's Britain, there would be no young people on out streets."
The scheme may have had its disadvantages but, for the moment, I find myself unable to locate them.

2 comments:

Learson said...

I make no apology for ,again, citing Singapore, this time as a city-state in which it is the criminals, not the public, who walk the spotless streets in fear. This is due to the sound influence of the Chief Justice, PH Yong, who once remarked, at a meeting of the local Oxford and Cambridge Society,that whenever he reads of an English judge's prison sentence on a perpetrator, he multiplies the figure by two and a half to obtain the correct and condign punishment. In Britain, the dishonesty, passivity and self-deception which characterizes the government's attitude to crime can be traced to thoroughly bad ideas that have trickled down from the Leftist 'intelligentsia'. We bequeathed Singapore a criminal justice system but we should not be too proud to learn something of a victim justice system from our former colony.

Toby Matheson said...

My self as a young adult (even as a left wing greeny) would like to seriously (and happily) agree with your ideals, even though it would give me a criminal record. I find the respect that i have for my parents is lacking in the current youth and feel as tough my views condem me to "old fogie'ness" in the current culture. Thank you for expressing them!