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!