Friday, February 02, 2007

Singing Tooral liooral liaddity

Are the Pommie convicts bound for Botany Bay, once again?

Earlier this year, Derek Williams of Blenau, North Wales, admitted to downloading nearly 200 pornographic images of children on to his computer. John Rogers QC, the senior judge on the North Wales circuit, said a jail sentence was necessary as a deterrent to others. But he added,

"As of yesterday, I have to bear in mind a communication from the Home Secretary."


Earlier this week, Mr Reid, Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, and Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, wrote to judges and magistrates urging them to use prison as a last resort as the UK has simply run out of prison places.

The Australian reports that a plane-load of prisoners from British jails could be headed Down Under more than 200 years after Britain first sent boats full of convicts to Australia. Australia's High Commissioner to the UK Richard Alston joked of the the prospect of convicts again landing on Aussie soil at a recent function.

Reid's options are limited. They include the "nuclear option" of releasing some prisoners early; sending 11,000 foreign nationals to finish their sentences at home; and creating a waiting list for jail spaces. Other emergency proposals include renting prison ships to house criminals offshore and converting an RAF camp to house prisoners.

Why has it come to this? Well, it's really very simple. In their infinite wisdom and desire to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", Labour stopped building new prisons about five years ago. The (unsurprising) result - Britain has nowhere left to house its growing inmate population.

Welcome once again to Oz!

Farewell to old England forever
Farewell to my rum culls as well
Farewell to the well known Old Bailey
Where I used for to cut such a swell