Sunday, April 29, 2007

Britain: Prison terms LESS likely for violent offenders

Like Leftists everywhere, Left-dominated Britain is always ready to excuse its violent criminals -- probably because of the hate and violence in their own hearts (which shows when, as Communists, they gain absolute power)

Violent criminals are less likely to be sent to prison than non-violent offenders, a shocking Home Office report has revealed. In the latest blow to public confidence in the criminal justice system, a report seen by the Yorkshire Post reveals that just 32 per cent of criminals responsible for violent offences - categorised as everything from murder to assault to obstructing a police officer - are sent to prison. But custodial sentences are handed down to more than 36 per cent of offenders convicted of non-violent offences, such as fraud, theft, burglary, criminal damage, drink-driving and public order offences.

The Home Office study on sentencing and re-offending was met with incredulity and outrage last night by Shadow Home Secretary David Davis and other MPs - but Prisons Minister Gerry Sutcliffe insisted the Government had been calling on the independent judiciary to be tougher with dangerous violent offenders. In addition to the sentencing of violent offenders, the report revealed that a widely used alternative punishment to custody, the drug treatment order, has a re-offending rate of 82 per cent.

Another section appeared to contradict Ministers' claims about the dubious long-term effectiveness of prison by stating that "longer custodial sentences are associated with lower proven re-offending rates".

The conclusions emerged yesterday as the Home Office's latest British Crime Survey found public confidence in Britain's criminal justice system was falling. The survey, which questioned tens of thousands of people during 2006 about their experiences of crime, showed that just 42 per cent of people had confidence in the system's ability to bring criminals to justice, down two points from 2005. Only 37 per cent of people believed the system was effective at reducing crime, while 34 per cent thought it met the needs of victims of crime. Both were one point lower than the 2005 responses.

The Home Office "statistical bulletin" on offending, stated: "Violent offenders are less likely to receive a custodial sentence than other offenders." But it sought to lessen the impact of the statement by adding: "'Violence' incorporates a wide range of offences of varying severity." It noted the two most frequent violent offences were common assault and battery, and assault causing actual bodily harm.

On drug treatment orders, the report said they "had the highest actual proven re-offending rate" of any form of punishment in 2004. On the link between the length of custodial sentences and re-offending, the data showed that the longer the sentence, the lower the rate of repeat offending. It also revealed a rise between 2000 and 2004 in re-offending by people imprisoned for less than a year.

David Davis, the Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said: "It beggars belief that under this Government, violent offenders are actually less likely to receive a custodial sentence than other offenders. "It is precisely these types of serious offenders, representing the greatest risk to the public, who should receive a custodial sentence to protect the public." Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies, who led a Parliamentary debate earlier this month calling for more and longer custodial sentences, said people would be "astonished" by the report's revelations. He said: "The fact is that the system is soft on violent crime, that drug orders don't work and that, contrary to what the liberal do-gooders say, prison works."

Defending the Home Office, Prison Minister Mr Sutcliffe, the Bradford West MP, told the Yorkshire Post: "We've introduced harsher sentences and made sure there are places in prison for dangerous and violent people, who should be treated more severely. But sentences are for the judges to decide, not for politicians." On drug treatment orders and the effectiveness of prison, he added: "Drug-related offenders are harder to deal with and we recognise they are a problem which is why we've increased funding for drug treatment by 974 per cent since 1997. "But we've got to remember that not everyone should go to prison. We need to tackle and break the re-offending process by offering people a holistic solution involving education and jobs."


British police protect Green saboteurs

What a sick country!

The operation to sabotage the government's GM potato trial was planned with care and under conditions of great secrecy. Two hundred and fifty protesters swooped on the 16-hectare site outside Hull, armed with shovels and filled with indignation. In less than an hour they had moved to invalidate the trial, planting thousands of organic potatoes. Mission accomplished. If only they had got the right field. Activists from yesterday apologised to farmer David Buckton after it emerged that they wrongly identified his land as the site of the GM trial. The field they planted was sown with beans.

By the time Mr Buckton was alerted to the protesters on his land, it was too late to stop the direct action. The protesters were determined to move quickly on the basis that the land would be rendered unsuitable for the GM trials once other root crops were in the ground.

In a statement said: "With the information that we had and the short timescale available to us ... we sincerely believed this to be the correct field. The public were not given sufficient information by the government, who supplied only a four-figure grid reference for the location of the trial." The group said they conducted extensive investigations within the area specified by the environment department and outside. "While it is regrettable that the wrong site and farmer were targeted, we would also like to make it clear ... that people will continue to disrupt the planting of GM crops despite the difficulties faced by this lack of full disclosure," the group added.

Yesterday Mr Buckton, 54, said the mix-up was the strangest event to have befallen his family in four generations of farming. He said the protesters were accompanied by two police officers on horseback. "I told the police officers that it was a bean field but they said the protest seemed peaceful so we'd better let them get on with it. The beans are just about peeping through. The protesters should have been able to see that," he said.

Mr Buckton said he had no great enthusiasm for GM crops. "I certainly wouldn't have been giving up my land to test them, he said." The company BASF plans trials of GM potatoes at two sites: Cambridge, which already has government approval, and in the East Riding of Yorkshire.


New drug of abuse

Worm medicine!

A new recreational drug is sending patients to the hospital with life-threatening symptoms! The case of an 18-year-old girl who collapsed in a nightclub last May after taking a tablet containing 1-benzylpiperazine is highlighting the dangers of this new drug. The teenager who was rushed to a London hospital emergency room was one of seven patients admitted with similar symptoms, including high blood pressure and a low body temperature.

Piperazines were developed to control worms in animals in the 1950s. They are chemically similar to amphetamine and are marketed in the United Kingdom in stores and online as the legal alternative to other recreational drugs such as ecstasy. The manufacturers of the drugs claim they are safe, citing that 20 million pills containing piperazines have been consumed in New Zealand with no deaths or significant long-term injuries. But a prospective study in New Zealand shows 80 cases of patients who went to the emergency room with symptoms similar to those from taking amphetamines, such as nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety and agitation. Fifteen of these patients had seizures after eight hours -- three had potentially life threatening incidents.

The authors conclude, "Clinicians should be aware of the potential presenting features of piperazine toxicity, particularly because commercially available urine toxicological screen kits for drugs of abuse may not detect piperazines."

Source. (Original report in "The Lancet" - Vol. 369, Issue 9571, 28 April 2007, Pages 1411-1413)

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