FIRST Minister Jack McConnell today revealed details of a new scheme to make yobs and vandals put right the damage they have done to society. Those found guilty of relatively minor offences, such as spraying graffiti or being drunk and disorderly, are to be forced to work unpaid for up to 100 hours as part of their punishment.So the yobs are going to get what they deserve, aren't they?
I'm not so sure.
Apparently, these wonderful new plans will:
force individuals whose behaviour blights the lives of others to give something back by doing unpaid community work.And, assuming that the police are actually out on the beat:
people picked up by the police for minor offences such as being drunk and disorderly, or one-off acts of vandalism, could be given a community reparation order instead of, or as well as, a fine.Along with its talk of "community reparations" the article goes on to mention: debts owed "to the community", taking something "from you community" and giving "something back to the community".
This policy is supported by the governing coalition, the main opposition party, and it wouldn't surprise to hear that all of the other parties are in agreement too.
Well, I'm not.
All this talk of "community" is precisely what's wrong with Scotland. Collectivism rules OK, it seems. But what about the individual?
Almost all crime has an individually identifiable VICTIM. It is to that victim that criminals should make reparation, not to an amorphous "community". Criminals should be made to pay thrice for their crimes. First, the victim should receive 100% compensation from the criminal for losses directly attributable to the crime. Second, the victim should receive the same sum again to compensate for the stress that the criminal has caused. Third, the criminal should pay the costs of his arrest and trial. Anything short of this is unjust.
Compensate victims, not the "community".