Spending by agencies in the criminal justice system reached around £23 billion for 2008/09, and we learn that pooling resources between agencies “could realise £70 million across the country” in savings. HMIC have discovered no one is in charge to make decisions and be held accountable.
I think we need a more radical start than something that comes up with the usual managerial claptrap that ‘someone needs to be put in charge’ – this is a general failure and leads to more bureaucracy. I’d start by listing what we might get for 23 billion if we just trashed the CJS entirely. Indeed, one wonders what would happen if we trashed the entire legal system.
Most of us seem to get sweet sod all from the legal system . We generally can’t sue to right being wronged and it’s hard to spot our cops and entourages of social worker-types doing much other than ensuring kids and disabled people are victimised and a few recidivist scrotes are available to destroy neighbourhoods.
What would we do with a greenfield site after sacking everyone and trashing all legislation? We could have a few tough cops and a variety of Martial Law for a few months while we sorted it out.
I have a big list, but in no way would it lead to putting the current crap back together. One example is that I would put all juvenile crime in the hands of the schools and teachers, empowering public birchings for the over 13s. Anyone that couldn’t handle would have to go to strictly supervised gated communities, with a severe curfew. I’d reserve courts for killers and very serious offenders, but I’d stop the legal profession dominating here too. We’d need a review court to make laws we actually benefit from. We’d have to build in a lot of public scrutiny and change our attitudes on ‘privacy’. The aim would be to build a CJS no one wanted to be part of. If 98% of ‘crime’ is dealt with through magistrates’ courts, then it is pretty clear most of it could be handled without courts in the general sense at all. It’s in court because we didn’t have the right stuff working before this sanction.
I’d go for spotting the majority of idiot criminals early and trying to do away with a lot that criminalises them – drugs being a good start. I don’t know what we would end up with – but that isn’t the point. We have no critical, imaginative debate at all. £23 billion would be a lot of big work projects creating sea and wind power. Why are we spending it on lawyers and other middle class benefit recipients?