Thursday 4 July 2002

Imprisoned minds

According to this article, Scottish taxpayers will have to pay out an extra £700 million if the three proposed new prisons are built and operated by the public sector rather than by private companies. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if MSPs vote to spend the extra money rather than be tainted by privatisation.

But do we actually need any new prisons? What is really needed is a complete rethink of how to deal with criminals. All “genuine” crimes have victims. The role of the state should be to catch criminals and make them fully compensate the victim as well as paying for the relevant police and court costs. That would be a proper system of justice and I suspect one which would need fewer prisons, private or public.