Empty prisons, lawless streets

Helen Szamuely at EU Referendum notes another incident demonstrating the superiority of European criminal practices, which favor leniency and rehabilitation, over our own, which favor harsh sentences generating  an enormous prison population.  The incident in question was a stabbing in Oxford Street — a corner of London I happen to love for its bustle.  Here is Szamuely’s ironic reflection on the young criminal’s past behavior:

The 22 year old man was out on bail and was coming up for two separate trials, one for a fight in a club that involved knives and one for a horrific rape of a sixteen-year old girl. Isn’t it wonderful, I thought, that this country is not like that ghastly oppressive one on the other side of the Pond and people of this kind are given bail because we have no more space in prisons.

Of course, it isn’t really a question of prison space:  it’s a moral disposition toward crime, which assumes it to be a curable ailment and thus disregards the consequences to the victims.  It’s rationalism at work, blind as ever to the springs of human nature.


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