Former Tory leader Michael Howard has been on the PM programme criticising Ken Clarke’s new, more liberal stance on prison populations (which is, of course, driven in part by cost-cutting concerns). His concerns are shared by many Conservative MPs.
It’s not long ago since Mr Howard, as Tory leader, accused the Lib Dems of being “soft on crime“. I wonder if he still believes that sentiment?
“If persistent and serious criminals are in prison the public is safe from their activities. And I believe the most important objective of the criminal justice system should be to protect the public.”
“I disagree with him (Clarke)…I think that if you’re dealing with serious and persistent offenders, and it’s those who are the offenders who are sent to prison, by people are intelligent, conscientious judges and magistrates across the country, people like David Cameron’s mother…these judges and magistrates don’t send people to prison without giving the matter a great deal of thought, without having in almost all cases having explored other ways of dealing with these offenders and having come to the conclusion, usually as the last resort, that they have no alternative.”