… successful rehabilitation requires a two-way commitment. If we really want our system to work effectively then once people who have committed crimes have served their time, completed their sentence, paid their debt and shown that they want to live crime-free lives, then society needs to demonstrate a greater level of acceptance.Do we? And what does that ‘level of acceptance’ mean in practice?
Discrimination against people with criminal convictions is already rife in the job market. Accessing financial services once you have declared that you have been in prison is almost impossible. Even finding accommodation is made more difficult when you state on the application form that you are an ex-offender.Well, yes. Because the system of punishment is only part of the process, the state-administered part.
After that comes the societal part, the shunning and disapproval of the criminal. And that’s not likely to change. You can’t force businesses to take on old lags if they don’t want to. And in a recession, with their pick of available workers, why should they want to?
Recently, a new tax was also imposed on the earnings of prisoners who are lucky enough to find work when they get to open prisons and are nearing the end of their sentences. As well as their income tax and national insurance, they have to pay a 40% surcharge on what they have left to the charity Victim Support.Whereas, before, they got away scot-free? Well, Erwin, I’m not exactly crying a river here. What other burning injustices you got?
It was already the case that people with criminal convictions were treated differently by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
While they could indeed submit a claim, any money that might be received is reduced dependent on the extent of their past criminal behaviour. This policy includes compensation payments to the families of people with criminal convictions. Last year, the family of a man killed in the 2010 Cumbrian shooting spree had to make do with only half the compensation offered to the families of Bird's other victims: it had been 20 years since their loved one had been convicted of any crime other than a litter-dropping offence two years before he was killed. It made no difference – in the eyes of those running the compensation scheme, he was less valuable than the other victims.Hmmm, odd wording - ‘20 years since their loved one had been convicted of any crime other than a litter-dropping offence’. I’d like to know the offence that prevented him receiving the full amount, because it’s certainly not dropping litter!
A source "close to the justice secretary" told a tabloid newspaper "thugs make a claim if they end up injured in a punch-up. We've got to get compensation to victims". Nobody can deny that anyone who has been traumatised by someone else in some type of criminal action deserves to be compensated.Yup, they can. I do. If I read that a criminal has been injured by another criminal I think ‘Karma!’. And so do many, many people…
There are eight million people on the government's "offender index." Ken Clarke is saying that they are all less valuable and by definition less human than others.Yup. And I think you’ll find that most of Britain is just fine with that. Well, except the criminals, of course.
But there’s an easy way to avoid this ‘awful discrimination’, Erwin, one not available to victims of real discrimination, like racial discrimination, or discrimination on the basis of disability.
Don’t commit crime. Simples!