I'm off for a few days and whilst I could try and post, maybe a bit of time to reflect on things might not be a bad idea. As I prepare to sign off though, a couple of stories caught my eye and I'll just point them out as I suspect both might get a bit of attention.
The first involves a BBC home affairs correspondent who found himself the victim of street robbery by a hooded youth wielding a knife. A very serious offence in itself, the story is particularly interesting because the perpetrator was caught swiftly by means of a clever mobile phone 'app' that was able to lead police direct to his location. Despite being caught 'bang-to-rights' he never-the-less pleaded not guilty right up till the last minute and only changed his plea when informed that the victim had turned up at court to give evidence. Having only been recently released from jail for a similar offence and hence on licence, this young 19 year-old man is looking at an Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection. A very sad case of another potential 'life' sentence on someone so youthful, but to be honest, trying to make a case for not doing so is going to be difficult for any PSR author.
The second story concerns some research by Birmingham University and commissioned by the 'Civitas' thinktank. The results claim to prove that Holy Grail of the right, namely that prison works and that locking up burglars for longer leads to less burglaries being committed. The same goes for fraud as well it seems. Well, I have my doubts and am with Ken Clarke on this one that it's nye impossible to prove cause and effect with so many other factors playing a part, such as general economic conditions. For me it also serves to highlight the now common but dubious practice whereby universities are 'commissioned' to carry out research, essentially to confirm the pre-conceived views of those paying for it. It sort of confirms my suspicion regarding psychiatric reports prepared for court hearings. Funnily enough you can always find a learned doctor to contradict anything the other side says, for a fee of course.