For someone to think state Liberal leader Ted Baillieu’s plan to scrap suspended sentences was a good idea, they’d have to:
- be completely ignorant as to the purpose and function of suspended sentences;
- have bought the utter lie that judicial sentencing is more lenient than public opinion;
- believe that judges who suspend sentences are idiots who love criminals;
- think parliament a better determinant of an appropriate punishment in a given case than a court that has heard all the evidence; and
- desperately want our prisons filled to the brim with lower-level offenders being trained in more serious crime.
From the triumphant article by the newspaper that’s done the most to mislead the public on the subject of criminal sentencing:
EXCLUSIVE: CRIMINALS including arsonists, rapists and armed robbers would no longer escape jail under a Coalition plan to scrap suspended sentences.
Also, say, a mother who’s lost her license and then driven whilst suspended to pick up a stranded child. And any number of other minor offences for which mandatory sentencing now imposes a ludicrously harsh jail term.
He said suspended sentences were part of the Brumby Government’s soft-on-crime approach.
Suspended sentences have been around for a lot longer than the Brumby government, Ted. They existed throughout the entire term of the Kennett government, having been reintroduced back in 1986. (They also existed between 1915 and 1958 through any number of conservative governments.)
“They pretend that an offender is serving a term of imprisonment, when in fact they are living free in the community.”
It’s true that suspended sentences don’t really involve any restrictions other than that the offender not commit any more crime – but alternative options, such as home imprisonment, are also on your list of things to dismantle!
“Many of those released on suspended sentences go straight back to committing further crime.”
If they do, then they go to jail for the original offending, plus getting sentenced on the new offences. The original sentence is no longer “suspended”. Part of the point of suspending a sentence is to test whether the person really has reformed or not – if they haven’t, then they’ll be going in.
Mr Baillieu acknowledged his approach would cost more, with extra prison beds and warders…
If half these criminals spent six months behind bars, it would add about $100 million to the state’s annual prison costs.
What’re the links between the Liberal Party and the prison contracting companies?
Private prisons are a fantastic profit-making venture. The people paying us don’t actually care how badly we treat the people we’re supposed to be looking after, just as long as nobody finds out about it. Seriously, state government, listen to Ted – he knows what’s good for us. I mean you. Yeah, you.
If you want to see just how well chucking more people in prison works, check out California. Its massive payout to private prison companies has pretty much bankrupted the state.
In 2007-08, more than 650 serious criminals were given wholly or partially suspended sentences by the County and Supreme courts – almost a third of all sentences.
They included eight arsonists, seven rapists, 30 armed robbers, 59 drug traffickers, 33 pedophiles, 169 violent offenders, five stalkers and 10 killer drivers.
Another 6200 were given suspended sentences by Magistrates courts.
And 100 more were put on home detention.
So, to summarise, 5650 people (6200 + 100 – 650) who were not “serious criminals” under the Herald Sun’s list would be going to jail under Ted Baillieu’s proposals. Of course “Ted Baillieu to imprison less serious criminals and train them in serious crime” doesn’t quite send the message the Hun is so desperate to send, does it?
UPDATE: The Hun’s ambiguous poll on the subject:
I think they’re assuming that a “yes” vote means changing your vote TO Baillieu. But that isn’t the only possibility…
ELSEWHERE: Talking of the corrupting influence of private prisons, remember those two judges in Lucerne, Pennsylvania who were taking kickbacks from local prisons to send more children there? Latest reports from their trial reveal that one of them det’ermined the length of sentence for at least one 14 year old based on the number of birds perched on a ledge outside the courtroom. Seriously.
Another reason why the profit motive should be kept a LONG WAY from the justice system.