In the UK and the USA, getting a job nowadays is hard. However, if you are an ex-offender, especially in the UK, it is now virtually impossible.
The UK in particular seems to penalise ex-offenders more than any other European state. It is a country of retribution where most of the population have difficulty spelling the word ‘rehabilitation’, let alone understand its true meaning. Frankly, the US is no better. ‘Once a criminal, always a criminal’ seems to be the ethos in both countries.
So much for so little…just click on the image above
TheOpinionSite is always anxious to highlight injustice, wherever in the world that injustice may be. When looking at the UK and its American cousins though, we begin to question the mentality of those who make public policy. We question whether or not the politicians who are so obsessed with being ‘tough on crime’ in the UK and the US are actually still in control of their faculties. We are especially concerned by the recent succession of excitable British Home Secretaries, all of whom seem to want to lock up everyone at the drop of a hat, restrict people from working and to stop them from travelling to other countries in order to find a job. One must ask if they are in fact in tune with the public. Serious evidence would suggest otherwise.
A recent study by Manchester University found that unlike politicians, the UK public were nowhere near as vindictive (or indeed as interested in longer and longer sentences) as those in power would have us believe. Even on the subject of sex offenders, today’s tabloid ‘monsters’ and ‘fiends’, the public were generally forgiving.
The main thrust of public opinion seems to consider that once someone had served their sentence, they should be allowed to rejoin society without any particular stigma. The UK and US politicians however, mainly as a result of their fear of what the tabloid newspapers might do to them, have passed law after law specifically designed to exclude those with a criminal record from society. The absurd situation that has developed with Florida’s sex offenders is particularly ridiculous. Living under a flyover is simply not acceptable. One must point out though that the UK would have probably followed its US master’s example if it had not been for the European Convention on Human Rights which governs all UK law.
These pathetic British politicians set up the Sex Offenders Register, the Violent and Sex Offenders Register, the MAPPPA system which is responsible for supervising those on the above registers and whose default answer to any question is, “We’d better say in case we get criticised for not preventing any possibility of risk”; they created the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the now infamous Criminal Records Bureau. Most of these life-sapping setups were imported from the United States, presumably because it is assumed that the similar language must mean a similar culture. That of course is wrong in fact; the UK is part of Europe and is not the 51st state of the United States.
About 20% of UK men of working age have a criminal record of some kind, many for trivial offences. Since Tony Blair’s dictatorship began, more and more people have been excluded from work as a result of more and more companies insisting on CRB checks, even where they are not necessary as the job in question does not involve contact with the public. The new coalition in the UK does not intend to change any of this nonsense.
Where contact with the public is necessary, even if it is only telephone contact, firms now will not employ anyone with a criminal recorfor fear of criticism. That is bad enough but, if you are a sex offender for example, the situation is far worse. Indeed, there is a very realistic probability that you will never work again in the UK or the USA.
The situation in mainland Europe is completely different because they really do believe in rehabilitation. In English speaking countries however, the perpetual punishment of those who have been to prison goes on and on with no regard to the human rights of the person concerned. The governments of those countries seem to prefer a situation where the ex-offender spends the rest of his or her life surviving on handouts from the state, all at great expense to the tax payer. The ex-offenders will of course never contribute to the exchequer through direct taxation and many will re-offend as they come to realise that they are better off in prison.
Politicians must have the courage to stand up to the tabloids and those unfortunate individuals who, for reasons of personal experience, shout above common sense and who also start charities, campaigns and crusades on behalf of ‘victims’. They do no one any good in the end – except for the people who run them and eventually gain huge amounts of money from a public who are too naive to realise that they are being taken for a very long ride.
As the prison population in the UK doubles every ten years, less and less people will be able to work when released and it will be the public who suffer as the tax intake falls. The US will no doubt suffer the same fate.
Politicians and the zealots must both learn to grow up and face reality; to do otherwise, simply in order to stay in power – or in the very lucrative charity business for that matter – is a betrayal of the public, democracy and morality.
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