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22 How. J. Penology & Crime Prevention 1 (1983)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj22 and id is 1 raw text is: 

The Howard Journal Volume XXII 1983. pp. 1-7

League Leader

(A column  of individual comments on current issues contributed by the
Director of the Howard  League,  by members   of the Council of the
League, or by the Editors of the Howard Journal.)

Criminal Justice in the 1980s'

By  Rt. Hon.   ROY   HATTERSLEY, M.P.

  The  Home  Office published its annual digest of criminal statistics for
England  and  Wales at the end of October  1982. The figures showed
that in 1981 almost three million notifiable offences were committed -
a  10%   increase on the previous year  and  the highest figure ever
recorded since such statistics were first published. Six weeks previously
a  similar digest of prison statistics was published. It showed that the
prison population exceeded 44,000, having doubled during the last 30
years and  more  than  quadrupled since 1930,  when  the figure first
exceeded 10,000.
   Incredibly those two sets of statistics have largely been discussed as if
they were  separate and independent  phenomena,  joined only by the
equal opportunity they provided for criticism of the Home Secretary.
But  not even the criticism has been complementary. Some critics have
argued that it is the atmosphere of general leniency that has caused the
escalating levels of crime. Others have simply expressed the growing
feeling of revulsion at both the number of men and women  who  serve
custodial sentences  and  the conditions  in which  many   of those
sentences are served. Remarkably few of the critics have tried to draw
from  the two sets of figures any conclusions about either the organisa-
tion of society or the philosophy which guides and  governs national
policy on crime and punishment.
   There are  of course one  or two  exceptions. Mrs Elaine  Kellett-
Bowman,   an M.P. in both Strasbourg and Westminster, had this to say
during  the debate on  Her  Majesty's Prisons which  the Opposition
initiated on 2 December  1981: The  criminal should cease attacking
and  robbing people so that there would be fewer criminals in prison.
You  may  argued that the judgment lacks subtlety but you will concede
that it demonstrates a degree of lateral thinking. The number of people
who  go to prison is, Mrs Kellett-Bowman has detected, related to the
number   of people who  are convicted. Though  we  can applaud  her
analysis, her implied conclusion is less creditable. This double M.P.
clearly believes that the Home  Secretary's primary task is to apply
policies of whatever severity is necessary to deter crime - thus clearing
the streets and the prisons at a single stroke. Until he does that, the


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