I watched a Dispatches called ‘The Thief Takers’ on 4 OD only to find some weird stuff on rehabilitation for recidivist crooks. The usual stuff on 20% of bastards doing 80% of the petty crime that isn’t petty in its effects, all to get the next fix. I forget what Bristol were calling it, but it looked like Tower-Nimrod in Lancashire. Claims were made relevant crime is down 30%. Some they show a guy moved into a new flat who blows his £2000 tax-payer grant paid in cash and then gets nicked and two others as pathetic. This in a world of much greater hardship for many honest people. Locking them up (which I know is hard work) was like falling off a log – to such an extent you end up wondering how many our officers could nick if they put a bounty on the practice.
There’s a lot more wrong in our society than these evil poor, their attitudes and practices. They remind me of the kind of computing problems that eventually drive you to get a new hard disk and re-install the operating software.
In public dialogue we lack proper understanding of who these people are, what they do and who they are hurting. When seen on programmes like Dispatches, they appear quite reasonable and amenable to rehabilitation – yet what they manage to learn to say is as reliable as what comes out of the coached politicians’s mouth. I suspect the mechanisms of learning and sincerity are the same.
The only real answer is to have these people live outside general society. They have been jailed on our estates for a couple of generations, but they are coming to slum landlord rentals near you.