Yesterday, for the fourth time, the European Court of Human Rights ruled again that the UK is in breach of human rights by having a blanket ban on allowing convicted prisoners serving a custodial sentence the right to vote: it’s nearly ten years now since the UK was first ordered to make some change in this ban, and neither Labour nor Conservatives have cared to do so. (The ECHR has made no order for monetary compensation, which is the only thing likely to move either party.)
In October 2014, there were 7,755 prisoners serving a custodial sentence in Scotland: the imprisonment rate in Scotland is 147 out of 100,000 people (via the Howard League). Since August 2010, there has been a statutory presumption against convicted criminals being sentenced to short periods of imprisonment, unless the court can show reason why this should be so. From the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010
“a court must not pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of three months or less on a person unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with the person is appropriate.”
If a person goes to jail, it will under most circumstances be because they committed an offence that the court decided mandated a sentence of four months at least. The general rule for any sentence of 12 months or less is that a prisoner will be released automatically on probation after they have served half their sentence.
Yesterday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. When I arrived, he was in tears. He had woken up in a strange place (his parents are visiting his grandparents): his mother wasn’t there: he’d wet his nappy: and he was hungry. Because he’s three, he responded to this concatenation of awful circumstances by sobbing, loudly and non-stop, while I picked him up, washed him, changed him, collected his picnic tea, and pointed out to him that we were now going for a walk to the park and quite possibly a bus ride and then he would see his mother. He’d stopped sobbing by the time we got to the front door, and before we had gone five minutes down the road to the park, he was skipping.
I mention this because we don’t treat children exactly like adults. Had I come across an adult in such misery, I would not have treated him as I treated my small nephew: I was pretty sure I knew what was making him miserable, and the best thing to do seemed to be to take away the causes of his misery even if he was sobbing as I did it.
Bikers Against Child Abuse:
The origins of BACA are recent, Mopar says. The incident that kicked it off took place in Utah, circa 1995. A child psychologist and clinical play therapist, whose ride name is Chief because he is a Native American, came across the case of an abused boy who was so traumatized he refused to leave his house. Chief made a house call to see what was going on with the child. He soon discovered that the only thing that piqued the boy’s interest was when Chief mentioned his bike. Then his eyes lit up.
Knowing he was on the right track to help this child, Chief gathered together his friends from the local Harley Owners Group and the next Saturday, 27 HOGs descended on the boy’s home. Looking out the window, the child was in awe and, for the first time in weeks, he ventured outside to see the bikes.
It wasn’t long before the boy was outside playing and riding his skateboard all over the neighborhood. It was an amazing and rapid transformation and a new tool in the recovery kit. BACA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization the next year.