Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond says, ”we'll look at offering criminals tag option instead of prison”, cost cutting measure is no solution to prisoners voting issue, Salmond doesn’t have the balls to campaign in a prison, plus why give up 3 hots and a cot!

Dear All

It is amazing how cost considerations can play their part in politics, for example, although the Scottish National Police Force is a good idea, it came down to cost before there was the political will to do it.

You could say that the latest cost cutting idea by the SNP is that people convicted of a crime could be given the right to choose an electronic tag over prison.

While wearing your electronic tag, the people will have their movements tracked by satellite in space, this has some appeal.

Alex Salmond has also said to have reaffirmed his belief that tagged convicts and others serving community sentences should have a vote in the independence referendum.

Mighty big of him, they had the right already.

At present there is a discussion on whether people in prison should be allowed to vote, generally people in prison are non voters in any case; however voting is a part of society that should be encouraged.

The problem is that political parties have painted themselves into a corner with the ‘tough on crime’ mentality, so how do they go to a prison and try and win the votes of prisoners.

Salmond has also reaffirmed that that those in prison should not get the vote!

Does the tag have an appeal?

Well, it would allow people to be able to carry on certain activities which would have put them in prison in the first place.

And prison for some maybe more desirable than the tag, prison for some is a refuge, it costs £165 a day for a prison place but tagging cuts that down to £40.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame, convener of Holyrood's Justice Committee, said:

"In Sweden, anyone given six months or less can apply to be tagged in their home under house arrest while being monitored. Any breach would mean a return to jail. Reoffending fell to 12%. The cost to the taxpayer is £40 a day and not the £165 a day for a prison place. Given the success of tagging over 20 years, will the First Minister consider following the Swedish model?"

Salmond said:

"We are always happy to learn about practices in other jurisdictions. Last week the Government's support team chaired an event at Strathclyde University which heard from the head of the Swedish probation service, and he outlined how their system operates. Many of the characteristics of the Swedish system are already in place in Scotland, but a consultation on electronic monitoring this summer will be an opportunity to formally capture any options for improvements. There is very strong evidence that community sentences are an effective alternative to short prison sentences: 58% of offenders imprisoned for three months or less are reconvicted within a year, compared with only 24% of those who receive a community sentence. Electronic monitoring has been used in Scotland since 2002. It continues to play a significant part in offender management, and we are consulting this summer on the possible development of the electronic monitoring service to include satellite tracking of offenders."

The nub is that people have to volunteer, so in some respects we will see the tag cut off and bumped.

So what are the benefits of prison as opposed to house arrest?

1/ Free bed
2/ Free food, three times a day
3/ Free medical
4/free dental
5/ Free education
6/Free leisure facilities
7/Free TV
8/plenty time to study and read
 9/ No gas bills
10/ No electric bills
11/No council tax
12/No rent payments

Or, you could stay in a dirty filthy slum in the freezing cold while being hounded by the DWP because effectively you are unemployable.

I think the three hots and a cot is more cosy.

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald said:

"People that Alex Salmond himself has classed as offenders have been split into two camps: those who have electronic tags and can vote in an election, and those who have custodial sentences for the same crime, more or less, and could not vote. Is there a matter of equity here that we should look at?"

Salmond said:

"When people engage in crime and receive a prison sentence they sacrifice some of their entitlements: the entitlement to freedom and also, I believe, the entitlement to vote."

Salmond got the first bit right, then second is in dispute, can’t expect someone like him on the verge of political death to be radical, each day, he sits in his virtual prison cell awaiting the time for his political execution on 18th September 2014.

Having painted himself into a corner, he can’t turn around and do the decent thing, its onward to hell.

Probably just as well he didn't campaign in a prison, within a week he would probably end up as some prisoner's bitch.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: