Why Chris Huhne should not be behind bars

Former MP Chris Huhne has been handed an eight month jail sentence for perverting the course of justice. During the sentencing the judge accused Huhne of trying to lie himself out of trouble “again and again”.

The sentencing comes at an estimated cost of over £100,000 for the Crown Prosecution Service after Huhne attempted to have the prosecution thrown out before the trial began.

According to a probation officer, Huhne’s sentence will cost the tax payer an estimated £1200 for every week he spends behind bars. If Huhne and his wife serve their entire 8 months sentences this will rack up a bill of over £80,000.

John Mann MP quickly pointed out, although I suspect with slightly ulterior motives, that Huhne is not alone in receiving an expensive prison sentences.

Huhne’s sentencing is the latest inappropriate use of our prison system as the prison population continues to spiral. Prison population has grown to over 80,000 today. That’s a 300% increase since the early 90s.

This means that we are spending over £96,000,000 every week in housing our prison population!

Money well spent?

New figures show reoffending rates spiralling alongside imprisonment rates for reoffending spiralling. In light of this there is a growing call asking why prison remains the default punishment for so many offences.

Mehdi Hassan perhaps best summoned up many people’s thoughts when he tweeted this reaction to Huhne’s sentencing:

The question remains. What public interest has Huhne’s imprisonment served that an alternative punishment would not have?

Update – A correction was made soon after publishing. Of course, the offense to which John Mann MP refers is not the same offence to which Huhne was sentenced!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Why Chris Huhne should not be behind bars

  1. What public interest has Huhne’s imprisonment served?

    Well, I’d be less likely to want to take points for anyone I had even a vague suspicion might one day divorce me. Then again, Vicky Price’s equal sentence might enforce a kind of MAD standoff, so I might be safe.

    Other than that, it’s lunacy on an epic scale. She took his points for him and then regretted it – boo fucking hoo. Give them a slap on the wrist, tell them to donate some money to charity and we can all move on. In fact, fuck it, give them lines (of the classroom rather than club toilet variety): “I will look out for Plod in future” and “I will not tell tales”, respectively, ought to do it.

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  2. Cat

    In a lot of cases I would have thought that community service would be much more appropriate that inprisonment.

    In regard to re-offences: having never visited a British prison, this is based purely on hearsay and speculation, but you have to wonder at times whether in some cases, re-offences occur because life for that individual in prison, with a roof over their head and 3 meals every day, may actually be better than what would await them on “the outside”.

    This is a genuine question as I don’t know the answer, but what do people in prison do all day? Are they given work, or do they sit around watching telly as some media sources would have us believe?

    When I was in Bolivia, I visited a prison in La Paz which was a fascinating experience. The prison is split into two halves, one for violent criminals, the other for non-violent criminals such as drug dealers. I only went into the latter, but in both sides of the prison, the inmates paid rent. Yes, you heard right. They earned the money for this either in the prison, eg by selling goods from burger-van type establishments, or they went out during the day to work. Some of the inmates had their families living with them inside the prison; either they couldn’t support them any other way or felt that it was safer; the children would go out to school during the day and come back.
    Incidentally, the purest cocaine in the world (allegedly) is made inside that prison.

    A very different system, and I don’t have any figures on me to say how well it works in terms of reducing crime, but it’s food for thought…

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  3. Maybe it to goes to show that the privatley educated, like 95% of the cabinet and the majority of MPs are not above the law? In my opinion he should of got more time, as isnt perverting the course of justice a serious offence?

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