A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prisoners get bed-and-breakfast lodgings in lieu of cells!

You couldn't make it up. Not in Gordon Brown's Britain. It's now a country run by the inept and the inadequate. Prisoners abscond, some get let out too soon, others just shouldn't be in prison. The courts have been piling up the flotsam and jetsom of the British social scene, and dispatching them to ageing overcrowded prisons. Although new prisons are being built, little or no attempt is made at joined up thinking.

Now we are told the Ministry of Justice (a New Labour outfit!) has spent £2.39million paying the rent of 339 offenders in B&Bs who would otherwise be in prison, either on remand or finishing their sentences. Are they mixed in with other paying guests? "Got any more porridge, Mrs Johnson?". The very thought. We should should get John Cleese to write a special edition of Fawlty Towers, with a couple of cons taking breakfast, with Manuel serving them!

The whole thing is preposterous. But then New Labour is preposterous. £250 a week to be in bed and breakfast accommodation. A new variation on the hospitality industry, I suppose.

ClearSprings, the private operator of this "scheme", says it provides a "robust" combination of safe and appropriately sourced accommodation, effective housing management, and rigorous support. The very use of the word robust puts the whole thing into a tailspin!

One of these guest houses was in Arundel, in Sussex. Burglars, muggers and petty crooks expected to behave in a genteel manner with the unsuspecting tourist or business traveller. Was it a case of separate tables? Why on earth can't these people in charge think?

I'm all for rehabilitation, all for humane prison time, but a prisoner should serve a proper sentence. "Norman Stanley Fletcher, you are a habitual offender......you will go to prison for five years, but just before the end you get a choice of bed and breakfast accommodation. Here's a brochure! I suggest you read it for the first couple of years and let us know which one you've gone for!"

What a New Labour world it is!


I run a directory for bed and breakfast in the United States. We are always looking for untapped resources that our innkeepers could tap into. This would certainly be a new idea to consider over here across the pond.

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