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Monday, August 21, 2006 

A Land Fit for Criminals

That's the name of a new book written by British researcher David Fraser, which Theodore Dalrymple based some of his latest article in the City Journal on (Hat tip: Betsy's Page). It helps explain much more clearly what's wrong with the UK today, including earlier subjects like these. Namely, how the corruption that infests their government, law and judicial system enables criminals to run the country:
For the last 40 years, government policy in Britain, de facto if not always de jure, has been to render the British population virtually defenseless against criminals and criminality. Almost alone of British government policies, this one has been supremely effective: no Briton nowadays goes many hours without wondering how to avoid being victimized by a criminal intent on theft, burglary, or violence.

An unholy alliance between politicians and bureaucrats who want to keep prison costs to a minimum, and liberal intellectuals who pretend to see in crime a natural and understandable response to social injustice, which it would be a further injustice to punish, has engendered a prolonged and so far unfinished experiment in leniency that has debased the quality of life of millions of people, especially the poor. Every day in our newspapers we read of the absurd and dangerous leniency of the criminal-justice system. On April 21, for example, even the Observer (one of the bastions of British liberalism responsible for the present situation) gave prominence to the official report into the case of Anthony Rice, who strangled and then stabbed Naomi Bryant to death.

Rice, it turned out, had been assaulting women since 1972. He had been convicted for assaulting or raping a total of 15 women before murdering Naomi Bryant, and it is a fair supposition that he had assaulted or raped many more who did not go to the police. In 1982, he grabbed a woman by the throat, held a knife to her, and raped her. Five years later, while out of prison on home leave, he grabbed a woman, pushed her into a garden, held a knife to her, and raped her for an hour. Receiving a life sentence, he was transferred to an open prison in 2002 and then released two years later on parole as a low-risk parolee. He received housing in a hostel for ex-prisoners in a village whose inhabitants had been told, to gain their acquiescence, that none of the residents there was violent; five months after his arrival, he murdered Naomi Bryant. In pronouncing another life sentence on him, the judge ordered that he should serve at least 25 years: in other words, even now the law has not quite thrown away the key.

Only five days later, the papers reported that 1,023 prisoners of foreign origin had been released from British prisons between 1999 and 2006 without having been deported. Among them were 5 killers, 7 kidnappers, 9 rapists and 39 other sex offenders, 4 arsonists, 41 burglars, 52 thieves, 93 robbers, and 204 drug offenders. Of the 1,023 prisoners, only 106 had since been traced. The Home Office, responsible for both prisons and immigration, still doesn’t know how many of the killers, arsonists, rapists, and kidnappers are at large; but it admits that most of them will never be found, at least until they are caught after committing another offense. Although these revelations forced the Home Secretary to resign, in fact the foreign criminals had been treated only as British criminals are treated. At least we can truly say that we do not discriminate in our leniency.

Scandal has followed scandal. A short time later, we learned that prisoners had been absconding from one open prison, Leyhill, at a rate of two a week for three years—323 in total since 1999, among them 22 murderers. This outrage came to light only when a senior policeman in the area of Leyhill told a member of Parliament that there had been a crime wave in the vicinity of the prison. The member of Parliament demanded the figures in the House of Commons; otherwise they would have remained secret.
Read the whole article. With this, one can say that Britain is the asylum, and that the so-called politicians there are the inmates running it.

Betsy also says:
What is also clear is that Americans must be vigilant to stop any tendency in our cities to travel down this same path that Britain has traveled down. Britain has conducted the experiment. We can see the results. Let's learn from their tragic mistakes.
The same goes for the citizens of any European countries who don't want their own law systems to collapse the way Britain's has. Thank goodness that, while Britain's not the only country in Europe to make firearms ownership for self-defense exceedingly difficult, if at all, most other countries, unlike them, have more of a heart.

Also available at Adam's Blog, bRight & Early, Church and State, Customer Servant, Free Constitution, The Mudville Gazette, NIF, Point Five, The Right Nation, Stop the ACLU.

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I am British and I spend no time at all wondering about these things - what is more, it not what I'd call a 'new' book, having been publsihed in March.

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