Friday, February 20, 2009

Transgression & Treatment

Injecting a note of reason into the toxic stew of the crime debate, Independent columnist Johann Hari today identifies three areas where crime prevention lies & where it's currently being neglected ( ): Mental health & the continuing practice of putting people with mental health issues in jail; drug addiction, & the controversial, but ultimately unarguable case for increased methadone & heroin prescription for addicts who break the law to feed their habit; & rehabilitation within prison itself, given that "60 per cent of prisoners have a reading ability below that of a six-year-old child - and most leave having learned nothing."
The choice is stark, Hari warns. Do we choose to follow the Daily Mail "Hang 'Em & Flog 'Em" call? "Yes, it gives us all a cheap kick to be rhetorically 'tough' , smacking around the insane, addicts and illiterates who made horrible choices in their past -- but it ends with more of us becoming victims of crime."
Supporting evidence for Hari's point concerning illiteracy is provided today by news of a depressing case of a 16-year-old male found guilty of murder. He is illiterate & boasted of being "the man" after stabbing his victim ( ).

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