Thursday, June 19, 2008

Labour is victim of hyperactivity on crime

Louise Casey"The mistake the Casey report makes is not to think that the criminal justice system must be minimally credible to those in whose name it is conducted. Nor is she wrong to want to find ways of engaging the public in deliberation about how that system can and should operate. Her mistake is to lazily and hastily collapse that project into a frame that places offenders and victims in a zero-sum game, and to scoff at the protections a liberal criminal justice system provides. It is to view public confidence through a consumerist lens that affords government no legitimate role in raising the quality of public debate, highlighting value conflicts and resource trade-offs, correcting crime myths, or taking on mass-mediated opinion. And it is to recycle the view that 'public opinion' remains preoccupied with crime and eager for harsh, ostentatious punishment.

"There is, in fact, good evidence to the contrary — evidence that the majority of citizens go about their lives without being affected by or thinking about crime; that they feel ambivalent towards punishment; and that when they participate in the system or engage with 'their' offender, this makes them think and act less and less like Louise Casey." —Prof. Ian Loader

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