Sunday, July 09, 2006

Crime And Punishment

From BBC News :

Reforms of the criminal justice system are largely ineffective in cutting crime, an independent think-tank says.

The Crime and Society Foundation, at King's College, London, says ministers should focus instead on tackling root causes such as poverty and sexism.

This 'independent think-tank' is staffed by :

A former communications director for the anti-prison, pro-criminal National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.

A former researcher for the anti-prison 'children's liberation' National Children's Bureau and the Child Poverty Action Group.

A former Communications Officer at Action for Prisoners' Families.

A former employee of the Howard League for Penal Reform, aka the Howard League For The Abolition of Punishment.

On its advisory board sits the anti-prison campaigner Una Padel and one Nick Page. Could it be this Nick Page ? Alas I think it's this one. Liberals on crime do seem to live in leafy villages rather than inner-city estates - have you noticed ? The consequences of their ideas are for other, poorer people to face.

Elsewhere one Ian Marchant is cutting crime :

"I felt my fist in his face, and I loved it. I still love it now. I loved each punch. Thwack . . . for your girlfriend, for all the times you’ve hit her and threatened her and terrorised her, for all the women you’ve terrorised and will terrorise. Thwack . . . because of what you are, what you wear, what you represent, the sneaking crimes you commit, the petty sneaking thefts, the pointless aimless vandalism, the joyless stupidity of your empty mind, for what you are doing to England, useless dregs of the earth, you and all the people like you. Thwack . . . for me, for the pleasure of it, because I can, because I love the feel of my knuckles against your flabby mouth, your flat nose, your vacant eyes."

"Then came the post-match analysis. Part of me wanted to say, “Poor little lad. What chance does he have in life? There are no jobs for stupid people any more. He’s got no future. He must have been brutalised at home. And the drink companies exploit kids like that, and fill them with cheap booze, and it’s not his fault he can’t handle it, poor wee baby.” But that’s not really what I think.

Really, I can’t buy into relativistic accounts of behaviour at all, despite a lifetime of Guardian reading. Plenty of people live in poverty, bad housing, are the victims of an education system which serves only to prepare people for life in a call centre. Plenty of people get pissed. My own mother was brutalised at home by her father in conditions of unthinkable squalor, and she didn’t take it out on anybody else.

What I really think is this: there is evil at work in the world. Some people are evil."

Give him a job, O 'independent' think-tank !


Anonymous said...

"I know my f*****’ rights, you f*****’ c***s"

The catchphrase of the witless, evil chav. It seems to be the only thing they do know. Sadly, abusing and even assaulting the police actaully appear to be their right, as so few of them are jailed or even prosecuted for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Note the similarity between this and this

And Cameron and Maude still think that traditional Tories are going to vote Conservative at a general election . . dream on!

AntiCitizenOne said...

This conservative will not vote for camerwrong.

Anonymous said...

No the catchphrase of the witless chav is "you can't touch me". Whenever we detain a thief at work this is what they chant and often keep chanting for at least 10 minutes before it sinks in we can indeed touch them. Most also believe that the Police are also not allowed to touch them and frequently scream it at the Police officers as they are handcuffed.

Does anyone know where they get this touching phobia from or is it something that is drummed into them at school ?

Anonymous said...

Enver Solomon, senior policy officer at the Prison Reform Trust a BBC regular and no doubt the main author of this report

Ross said...

"poverty and sexism" eh, surely racism and global warming deserve a mention too.

Anonymous said...

A while ago I was shown round the Transport Musuem in Glasgow by a friend. One of the exhibits was an old tram, which you could go inside.

I commented sarcastically how they must have cleaned the inside up for display, as there was no sign of grafitti or other vandalism.

My friend turned and told me with some feeling how in the days when there were trams in Glasgow, no youth would have got away with vandalising one. Other passengers would have turned on him and administered a 'skelping'.

Nowadays, grown men all too often lack the confidence and courage to intervene. Perhaps it's partly to do with the passing away of national service.

We need to rediscover that courage and sense of responsibility for the safety of others, just as the writer of that article did. Even if the police did have all the means needed at their disposal to deal with the louts and thugs who are running amok, they couldn't be everywhere at once.

Anonymous said...

'Skelping' I like the sound of that, could do with more of that sort of thing these days.

As to intervening these days, of course we all know who would likely end being hauled away by the rozzers after such a confrontation. You a grown man attacking a group of vulnerable teenagers!

Anonymous said...

The Crime and Society Foundation, at King's College, London, says ministers should focus instead on tackling root causes such as poverty and sexism.
If it is true that there was less crime 50-100 years ago, this comment implies that there must also have been less poverty and sexism.
Clearly, by their own arguments, we should return to the social order of the 1950s, perhaps even 1900, immediately.

Anonymous said...

"If it is true that there was less crime 50-100 years ago, this comment implies that there must also have been less poverty and sexism."

London streets in the 17th and 18th centuries were at times terrorised by gangs of upper-class youths going under names such as the Mohocks and Roaring Boys.

One gang of erudite youths specialised in surrounding passers-by, and demanding the answers to riddles and logical paradoxes. Those failing to give the correct answer would be slashed or stabbed with a sword.

(You can see a faint descendant of these gangs in the Oxbridge drinking clubs whose members occasionally smash up a wine bar, and then smugly write out a cheque to cover the damages.)

The upper-crust yobs of the good old days behaved the way they did because not because they were poor, which they certainly weren't, or because they had 'low self-esteem', which they certainly didn't, but because they knew they could get away with it. Strings would be pulled long before they ever reached court, if at all.

Doubtless there are economic factors involved in crime. Burglaries and crimes of assault fluctuate along with the economic cycle. During boom periods, there are fewer burglaries and more assaults, as more money can be spent on getting drunk. The reverse applies during periods of recession.

But one of the main factors has to be the extent to which people think can they can get away with criminal behaviour.

Anonymous said...

joe90 - agree. It's what people [mainly aggressive young men] think they can get away with.

The hoodie problem is worse because not only can they get away with it, if they're caught, there is an army of social workers and legal rights experts to help them avoid the consequences of violent and anti-social behaviour.

I said on another blog that any party that promises to bring back the birch for violent, lawless, thieving young men and boys will get in by a landslide

Anonymous said...

Could these geniuses of the press perhaps name a single crime or category of crimes caused by sexism? I'll let them pass on the poverty bit, although even that's hotly debated. But can any actual committed crime be said to have happened because a gal couldn't get enough respect?

Oh, let me guess, they can't. And this bunch of clueless geeks are getting all the honors ole' London can bestow.

Anonymous said...

Alex Zeka: Are you seriously suggesting that if a man views women in a scornful and demeaning way, then his behaviour towards them will likely be no worse than a man who is brought up to treat women with respect?

Anonymous said...

joe90, Would this "treating women with respect" perchance involve holding doors open for them? Offering to walk them home in dangerous neighbourhoods? Protecting them from lecherous thugs?

Because all of the above involves treating women differently from how you'd treat men, which is what sexism is. Those who abuse women aren't sexist: if anything, they are the opposite, showing no forbearance towards the fairer (and weaker) sex.

Anonymous said...

"Because all of the above involves treating women differently from how you'd treat men, which is what sexism is."

I've always understood 'sexism' to mean treating women as inferiors, not simply as different.

One online dictionary defines a 'sexist' as follows:

n. a man with a chauvinistic belief in the inferiority of women.

It is not a word that I am really keen on, because it summons up an image of 1980s-style feminists, as well as creepy, self-proclaimed 'non-sexist men'.

But such people as 'sexists' do exist. And it stands to reason that those 'with a chauvinistic belief in the inferiority of women' are more likely to take liberties with them, to abuse them and assault them.

Anonymous said...

"n. a man with a chauvinistic belief in the inferiority of women."

That is a belief shared by the vast majority of the human race: that in terms of physical strength and certain sorts of mental ability women are inferior to (weaker than) men. Indeed, it is precisely this belief which results in the institution of chivalry.

Does abusing someone mean you consider them inferior? Do burglars consider their victims inferior? No, they're just looking for money. Do abusers consider women inferior? No, they're just looking for physcial gratification.

Would you abuse those whom you considered clearly inferior to yourself in terms of physical strength? Pity would prevent it.

Dont' use the language of the enemy, for all language carries certain assumptions. In this case, your assumptions are blatantly feminist (that women's inferiority in certain regards makes them victims).

Anonymous said...

"n. a man with a chauvinistic belief in the inferiority of women."

"That is a belief shared by the vast majority of the human race: that in terms of physical strength and certain sorts of mental ability women are inferior to (weaker than) men."

No, a 'chauvinistic belief in the inferiority of women' is not the same thing at all as recognising that men tend to be better at certain things than women (never mind those areas where women tend to outperform men).

By conflating the two, you're in danger of following the same logic as those who have been haranguing Larry Summers as a 'sexist' for pointing out how sex-based differences in cognition can have an impact on education.

Anonymous said...

joe90, the fact remains that words have the meaning generally ascribed to them. "Sexism" is a word invented by feminists and is meant to conflate two things:a. the belief that men and women are different, and b. a disregard for the well-being of women.

Given that most people who disregard the well-being of women also disregard the well-being of men (i.e. are generically selfish people) the second meaning is redundant. That leaves us with just the first one, the one you ourself reject.

Name one single criminal whom you would consider specifically a sexist. Not just selfish, not just misoginistic, not just contemptuous of others, but specifically sexist.

Anonymous said...

"the fact remains that words have the meaning generally ascribed to them"

Yes. My understanding of the meaning of the word 'sexism' doesn't seem far removed at all from what the definition I gave earlier, nor from what I find in my Pocket Oxford Dictionary, nor from how many people (I don't mean feminists) define it, if they'd define it at all.

Your definition of it includes information about how the word might be deployed as a tactic, either by feminists who seem able to detect anti-female bias at homeopathic levels, or as a way of trying to shut people up who dare suggest there are biological bases to sex differences in behaviour.

I think yours is a fair criticism of the term. It is not my word of choice either - there are either terms which do the job just as well, but without the right-on overtones.

But I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. If someone describes the the disgusting lyrics by the likes of hip-hop 'artistes' such as Dr Dre as 'sexist', then I'm not going to take them to task. Incidentally, how would one describe the lyrics to Dr Dre's charming sonnet "Bitches Ain't Shit", which be found here:

Sexist? Misogynistic? Chauvinistic? Woman-hating? Any one of those would probably do - their meanings are similar enough in everyday language.

Anonymous said...

joe90, here in the UK (where the report was published) the main Unis were accussed of being "sexist" awhile ago. Similar accusations were levelled at the police and the army. Obviously, none of these institutions engage in rape or anything of that sort. Rather, they engage in sex-based discrimination.

At the same time, you will never find a rapist described as a sexist in any condemnation of the same. For instance, the statmeent read out by the pros. lawyer after one is found guilty often calls him "cruel", etc but never "sexist".

In short, the est. uses the word my way, but never yours. Perhaps most ordinary people define it differently, but that's all part of the trick: femis can, by using the word, effectively lie without seeming to.

You are right that the meanings of sexist and women-hating are similar in everyday language. However, the report in questin was clearly not using everyday language, but the language of the est.

As for Dr. Dre's lyrics, I'd prefer lustful, irresponsible or somehting else sex-neutral. That makes it clear that such lyrics are offensive to everybody, not just women. (Btw, the good Doctor proves my earlier point quite well. Do you imagine that soembody who thought along the lines of those lyrics would only be careless of the well-being of women, or of everybody? I'd say the latter).

Anonymous said...

The song is overwhelmingly misogynistic though. Its message is straightforward and unambiguous: "Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks".

Dr Dre is now a very well-off record producer, so his general behaviour is probably not markedly chaotic, and he evidently has sufficient social skills to get ahead in the music industry.

I'm glad judges don't label rapists as 'sexist' - far too weak a term - but the phrase "You are a menace to women" certainly crops up when sentencing. Google finds four newspaper reports from Britain with these very words.

As regards the motivations of rapists, it is clear that they are not purely crimes of hatred against women, otherwise women of all ages would be at equal risk. They are not.

Nonetheless, the hostility that rapists display towards women can be dissociated from their behaviour towards men. Indeed, an FBI-based profile of rapists identifies them as often trying hard to appear 'one of the boys'.

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