Socialist Worker

More prisons are no answer to crime

Issue No. 2091

The Tories and Labour are outdoing each other to say who is toughest on crime

David Cameron went to jail on Monday. Unfortunately they let him out again, but not before he had unveiled the Tories’ plans to expand prisons.

He claimed the Tories would increase prison capacity to 100,000. This would be funded in part by selling off inner-city prisons for real estate and building cheaper prisons elsewhere.

Labour’s response was predictable – prisons minister David Hanson hastily pointed out that Labour is already engaged in the biggest prison-building programme in history.

The prison population has exceeded official capacity for the first time, reaching an all time high last week of 82,180.

New Labour seems intent on following the US model – where more than one in 100 of the US adult population is currently behind bars. For black men aged 20-34 that rises to one in nine.

We need an end to a culture where prisons are used to deal with social problems and addiction. We need to offer help and hope, not jail.

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What We Think
Tue 4 Mar 2008, 19:06 GMT
Issue No. 2091
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