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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Day jails - will they cut crime?
The UK government is considering jailing some repeat offenders at weekends or during normal working hours in England and Wales.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, will tell a conference of probation workers today that too many people breach their community service orders. He says he wants to develop tougher sentences for people who repeatedly commit crimes such as assault, car theft or public order offences.
Do you think part-time jail will be a successful weapon in the fight against crime, or do you think it will over-burden a prison service that is already bursting at the seams? Tell us what you think about day jails.
Derek O'Brien, Northern Ireland
9-5 sentencing - brilliant! It is a good, measured, well-considered response to the problem of the group who insist on causing harm and hurt to everyone else. The prison system is not working brilliantly, but a consistent withdrawal of freedom is a good way to affect these evil individuals. William Hague's response, to allow people to become law-breakers themselves, smacks of the militia-style gun politics of America, and we don't want that here.
Nik Beenham, Scotland
It's all well and good in theory to lock up criminals in the day time, but what will they be doing while they're inside? What happens in the evening when they are free to steal cars and commit crimes until 9am the next morning? What about putting these criminals to work in the community in the day and look them up at night?
The Prison Agency's pay policies have created a service of inexperience. Prison officers become more youthful by the year. Long-term commitment is lost and avenues on rehabilitation are impaired. The Prison Agency, certainly in London, is in crisis and overloaded.
Let them out at night by all means. Just give me the legal freedom to shoot them if they burgle my house.
Michael Evans, England
How about putting them to work 9-5 and locking them up 5-9? It's supposed to be a punishment not a luncheon club. Any wages they are paid should be used to pay for prison expenses and/or reimbursement to their victims.
What's the point? If you lock people up during working hours, you just prevent them from making a living, thus throwing them on the dole, while leaving them free to raise Cain during the prime night-time drinking hours.
It would make more sense to lock offenders up on weekends and holidays.
Most of us are living proof day jail works. Tied to my desk here at work, I simply can't find the time for crime.
Carl Minns, England
The main reason for habitual offenders is that they have lost fear of the police and the prison system. The softy, softy approach by police while interviewing criminals due to human rights compulsions and relatively comfortable prison life have emboldened criminals. Perhaps Jack Straw should re-introduce the 19th century practice of deportation of habitual offenders to new penal colonies for life.
It's the last straw from Jack Straw.
It's time we got Ann Widdecombe from the Tories to sort them out.
It is blatantly apparent that Jack Straw, along with many of his ministerial colleagues have become well and truly out of touch. Mr Straw obviously cannot relate to the deviousness and evil of many of our criminals nor to the feelings of the victims of crime.
Christian Bodhi, UK
It must depend on the type of crime. For example, a major positive impact would result from locking up Jack Straw and the rest of the Cabinet during normal working hours.
The only solution is to bring in the boot camp which they use in the States.
Do you need somebody to clean your streets during the day? Or do you want a rested criminal who will be "visiting" some of you about 2am in the morning since he's wide-awake.
Put 'em to work!
I can see homeless people taking advantage of this new system. They rob people by night and then get a place to stay where they will be fed and catch a couple hours kip before they their 'shift' starts again. How convenient!
How can stopping someone from working possibly be a deterrent to them committing crime? We should be making prisons into businesses and make the inmates work. All of their earnings could then be used for running the prison. The harder they work, the better the conditions. I have to work, why shouldn't they? We are far too soft
Perhaps the best solution to lawlessness would be to legalise vigilante justice. If criminals knew that if they committed a crime and suffered horrible injuries (or even death) at the hands of those defending themselves and their neighbourhood most of them would think twice.
I guess the British must be much more civilised than the rest of the world. 9 to 5 criminals, who would have thought?
Once more Jack Straw tries to appease the Daily Mail reader with half hearted plans, soundbites and only slightly diluted Tory thinking. Education, meaningful jobs and prospects will reduce theft and car crime.
Don't you think we pay enough taxes for these criminals? Put the money to some good use like cancer research.
One option, which may be successful in a large number of cases, would be a work camp with some kind of vocational training, which may turn some of them into responsible citizens.
In the USA there is an entirely circular prison designed by an ex-con. The inmates hate it and it has a rehabilitation rate way over any other prison in the world. The secret? Because of the circular design all the inmates can see each other which means there is no privacy at all, ever, during their stay.
Maybe we should take a look at this prison and use the example...
K Edwards, UK
The proposal for so-called "Day Jails" is fatally flawed, for the reasons identified by other correspondents. What's really needed are realistic, punitive prison sentences for repeat offenders e.g. when someone with 5 prior convictions commits another burglary, jail him for 5 years. Then if he burgles again after he's released, jail him for 10 years. No more molly coddling. A "10 strikes and you're out" law would help e.g. when a burglar is convicted for the 10th time, he gets 10 years in prison. Eventually, most criminals would get the message. The key is to make repeat offenders much more afraid of the justice system. At present, they laugh at the courts.
Russell Lloyd, UK
As a special constable, I regularly give my time free to help the police, and aid in the protection of society. I regularly meet people who are involved in assaults, car crime and public order offences. When do the majority of these offences occur? At night, alcohol fuelled in many cases. Part time jail would be a joke.
Take for example people who break curfew's, in one case a person broke their curfew 6 times only to have exactly the same conditions imposed. And this is called "justice". Just another Labour gimmick I call it. Part time jail - what a joke.
"Cheerio! Just off to the prison for a hard day in the slammer. I'll be home around six."
Will these people get three meals? Perhaps an hour off for lunch too.
Sheer and utter madness, but I'd rather live in a mad world than a dull one.
Surely most burglaries occur at night. In which case it would make more sense to subject criminals to house arrest after sunset and before sunrise allowing them to get an education or work during the day. The 12-hour sentence could be made 24-hour if they offended during the day as well.
Roger Jackson, England
A place where you are confined between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday, and you get bossed around by people all day? That's called work isn't it?
What a ridiculous idea - imagine the networking opportunities for criminals in such environments. They would come out with a wealth of new crime knowlege and contacts!!
Phil W, UK
Wonderful. Now criminals will be able to meet and socialise all day to concoct the crimes that they can undertake under cover of night.
I believe the Swedes have used this method successfully for many years. However, they let you work all week and stick you in jail at the weekend. That way, you can still maintain contact with your family and support them.
Jonathan Kelk, England
I lost my faith in the judicial system months ago when the police refused to investigate an assault on my girlfriend despite witnesses and a recovered weapon. Whilst Jack Straw has good intentions in keeping thieves away from my house whilst I am at work, there are plenty more to take their place. My solution is lovely Lenny, a smashing Doberman who loves burglars and muggers. Believe me, he is the most effective deterrent against crime!!
If part-time prison is to be any deterrent at all, it should rather be from 9pm to 5am so that prisoners can get a good night's sleep and have a shower and a bowl of porridge to prepare for the working day.
Jack Straw must have lost the plot if he thinks it's a good idea to let serial muggers out at 5pm every day to catch us on our way home!
Sean Stack, France
In the Netherlands there is a program which tries to "re-connect" ex-inmates to society by having their "law-abiding" friends keep an eye on them, subsidise ex-inmates so that they can buy a house and be "tied" to normal life through mortgages etc.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
While this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, would a few hours a day in jail really act as a deterrent, or a punishment for that matter.
Surely we should be looking to deal custodial sentences to repeat offenders, and perhaps very long ones if this fails to solve the problem.
This is a crack pot idea is purely to save costs. Prisoners will presumably be fed regularly between nine and five and given access to leisure facilities before being freed to return to their loved one in the evening. It could be quite attractive to some. The downside is that more and more people become unemployable and are then left to rely on a life of crime. The experience of the USA which has one of largest growing prison populations in the western world, including the death penalty in many states, indicates that prison is no deterrent to crime. We must look more imaginatively at the causes of crime.
Wouldn't it be more effective to let people do a job of work in the day then lock them safely away overnight?
People should go to jail for punishment not rehabilitation. The short sharp shock treatment brought in by the Tories was good except for the people involved in carrying it out. Prisoners who do not do as they are told should be beaten (so it hurts).
So, we feed them and give them a bed for the day at tax payers expense so that they can build up their strength for the busy night of crime ahead????!!!!!
A Labour solution. Do they not realise that these yobs spend most of the day in bed and commit crime at night.
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