I am getting increasingly frustrated by the criminal justice system in the UK, and the numbers of, what I consider to be, inappropriate sentences for
crimes committed here.
If a person gets caught stealing £10,000 from a large company (without threatening or physically harming anyone) they will undoubtedly be jailed, but
if they steal and trash my £10,000 car, drive like a maniac, putting many lives at risk, tying up valuable police resources - pursuit cars,
helicopter & crews etc. they'll get a slap on the wrist, a warning, maybe penalty points on their driving license (which they might not even hold
yet!!), and that's it.
They'll be back out on the streets, no doubt stealing cars again, in a matter of hours.
Well, in this case, it's mainly because the law in the UK incredibly doesn't class the taking of my car as theft!!!!
Theft is defined here, as taking something with the intention of "permanently depriving" the rightful owner of it, and the police apparently have
difficulty PROVING that anyone taking a car, has the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it, so it's NOT CLASSED AS THEFT!! (It's
classed as Taking Without the Owners Consent.) and as such, is considered as lesser crime.
LINK to wiki definition of Joyriding
The thief, sorry - car taker
doesn't even have to reimburse me, for the cost of recovering, repairing or replacing my car!
(I have to pay via my car insurance... But what difference does it make if I'm insured? THEY still stole the car from me and THEY did the damage,
I'm the victim, so why should I have to pay - even through my insurance?)
I don't understand why victims of crime, are left without help/counseling/compensation, when convicted criminals are offered (in certain
circumstances) all three. (Did you know that over £1.6million was awarded in compensation to criminals in England and Wales alone over the last year,
and that one convicted criminal, who self-harmed in a UK prison, was awarded £2.8million compensation in 2005/6?
LINK to story in the METRO
I think that the criminal justice system needs a complete overhaul.
I think that the foundation stone at it's heart should be the principal that the VICTIM of crime should NEVER be left without appropriate help,
counseling, or financial reimbursement, where the criminal has been identified, tried, and found guilty of the crime.
The CRIMINAL should have to pay for any costs, losses incurred and damage done.
If he has insufficient funds, then his assets should be seized and sold, then he should be put to work by the state, doing whatever jobs he is deemed
capable of - from hard physical labour, to cleaning toilets/sewers/grafitti - whatever, at an appropriate rate of pay, which should then be taken and
used to help reimburse the victim.
Stealing a car would seem a lot less of a "joyride" if there was a real possibility of having to actually PAY for the value of the car AND any
damage done whilst driving it!
You'd need to work out a table of appropriate compensation, for various crimes, but I'm sure it could be done.
Second, I don't agree with the current thinking that, once you've done your time, the slate is wiped clean.
The idea of convicting the perpetrator of a crime, is presumably to punish AND rehabilitate the offender? But too many released criminals go on to
re-offend time and again.
I'd propose that minimum sentences and punishments for all crimes should be clearly defined, and that the minimum sentence for any crime should
automatically be doubled each time a criminal re-offends.
In other words if I perform a criminal act which currently has a minimum sentence of 3 months jail time, the next time I get caught, it will come with
a minimum term of 6 months, then 12, then 24 etc.
Pretty quickly, I'd get to a point where the punishment is far in excess of the rewards for my crime, so I'd have to consider doing smaller crimes
or... god forbid, finding a non-criminal source of income!
What do you guys think? I know that it's not a complete solution to all the problems, but it would be a step to properly compensating the Victims and
properly punishing (and rehabilitating) the Criminals.