Friday, August 31, 2007

Not so Nimble NIMBY Nick: A Right Herbert, and his "David Davis is Soft" Rumour Gathers Momentum

Within the Tory Party Nick Herbert MP has a bit of a reputation as law-and-order hardliner. Willing to go further than those many of us would see as tough to the point of harshness. This Herbert was acting seriously pissed when around 18 prisoners were released recently. A week or two early. From Ford open prison in his constituency:

At this Nasty Nick said:

“It is totally unacceptable that prisoners are being released early onto our streets, especially those who have committed violent or drugs-related offences. It is particularly worrying that a fifth of those who have been released have committed crimes sufficiently serious that they were originally sentenced to longer than a year in prison. The public is being put at risk as a result of the Government’s decision to ignore earlier projections of the future prison population and its failure to plan accordingly."

In others words he wants the government to build more and extend existing prisons. As he soon made clear:

"Total capacity will still be 4,000 places short of their medium projection for the prison population by that time (2012), assuming that prisons will be full to the gunnels, with prisoners continuing to be doubled up. As Harry Fletcher of the National Association of Probation Officers said,
“They’ve had eight, nine years and really done nothing... There’s been no substantial building programme and no provision for probation.”

That's clear then. Nick Herbert MP does not want prisoners released even a few days early. So Nick Herbert MP wants loads more prison places. LOL would like to see far less people in prison with a particularly bleeding heart liberal approach to those who really need treatment rather than incarceration, to those whose crimes are trivial yet persistent who are cell blocking, to those where community sentencing would be far far cheaper and far far more effective.

Seeing and ever growing prison population estate as a success story is as sensible as measuring health success by numbers staying overnight in hospital. In both cases less customers and more and better prevention would surely be a success?

Having said that LOL do respect a man who is consistent and willing to lead on difficult issues. So this story from Ridiculous Politics seems rather strange and very disappointing:

Nick Herbert, the shadow secretary of state for justice, has pledged that the Tories would boost jail capacity and make prisoners serve longer terms - but he has opposed plans to turn Ford Open Prison in his own constituency into a closed prison. Jack Straw MP said: "It is nothing short of hypocrisy for Cameron and his frontbench team to make a national pledge to increase prison places, and then we find out that locally they are against the very thing they promised".
Perhaps Herbert should join the Lib Dems who are into this sort of thing.

A self-dubbed "CCHQ insider" provides this insight at Conservative Home where Herbert was recently postally interviewed by his fanclub:

Herbert refers to Davis' responsibility because he is trying not to annoy Davis.
Herbert and Davis used to be very close friends. They have had a bitter fall out partly because Herbert is siding with Michael Gove and wants to be tougher on terrorism but Davis wants to continue building bridges with Liberty.
This fall out will surely be picked up by Her Majesty's press before long with lamentable consequences.
Davis should be sacked and Herbert given his job. Until then, we will struggle to be taken seriously on security affairs.

HM Prison Ford has been in the news several more times in the last 12 months. Nick Herbert's own parliamentary question revealled that 70 prisoners had absconded in ten months to October 2006.

And it was the Deputy Warden and another officer from Ford who were prevented from giving vital evidence in person in the Liarco Chindamo case. Another instance of Tory toffs talking top tosh and twaddle.


Anonymous said...

Try to keep up Chris - I know you haven't been taking the pills recently - but Brown's Britain is planning for a prison population of 100,000 plus in the next few years.

Er, er, ... what do we do now? No doubt you have it all worked out. Hope so 'cos most people think LOL haven't a clue.

Chris Paul said...

Thanks Old NIck. Marvellous. What do you think about your cousin "New" Nick Herbert's hypocrisy which is after all the subject of the post?

Would you be wanting a higher prison population and for that matter more people living in hospital beds to prove the respective services work?