Monday, 31 October 2011

Sympathy Bypass

I’m not a political animal, but one thing I agree with was re-enforced by Prime Minister David Cameron recently. His government is considering penalising criminals by deducting up to £25 from their benefits per week in order to pay fines they have accrued. This is an increase on the £5 they presently have deducted. In predictable fashion, many have thrown up their arms and claim this is unfair and will render many of them unable to live, and thus propel them into further crime.
I don’t care. I really and genuinely don’t. They are not victims. They are convicted criminals, and we shouldn’t shed a single tear. If you’ve any emotion I’d suggest you direct it towards those on the rough end of these peoples’ antics. I have a big heart for them because I deal with them professionally day in, day out.
They tell me how their lives have been eroded, their self confidence undermined, their fear heightened. If it’s all the same to you I’d prefer to stand beside the real victims rather than the phoney’s who bleat about poverty because of their own life choices.
Here’s an idea. It’s 100% assured to reduce the crime figures. It’s called not committing crime. How about we give that one a shot? If we can do that then nobody has to suffer, which frankly appeals to me a lot. We must understand that there’s a greater good that needs to be served here, and it’s the creation of a society in which nobody has to be fearful of or intimidated by anybody else. It’s a society where doors can be left open, trust extended, and honesty aspired to.  That’s of course a multi faceted project which begins in the home and not in the courts, yet we do need to ensure that punishment acts as a sufficient deterrent, which right now it fails to do. Low level crime carries little or no risk, and the penalties are minor. Offenders have very little reason to transition from their lifestyles, and so the cycle continues.
I’m not claiming society can be fixed overnight. What I do say is that we need to draw clear lines between who are the victims and who are the guilty. We’ve allowed ourselves to muddy the water, and that serves nobody.

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