Cycling along a couple of days ago, I was enjoying a traditional English rural scene. Picking my way round broken glass on the canal towpath, admiring the group of drunken tramps who inhabit the green behind the magistrate's court, I was watching an eclectic collection of rubbish floating by: plastic bags, empty lager cans and a couple of discarded soft drink bottles as normal, but also some bits of wood that looked like a part assembled piece of Ikea furniture and something unidentifiable thing with string trailing behind it. I suddenly wondered why in all the time I have been taking this route (more than a year) I had never seen chain-gangs of young offenders cleaning the mess up, which I thought I had been promised by get-tough no-nonsense pinnacle of probity Hazel Blears when she was a Home Office minister. It turns out that she'd just made it up, there was no such policy, disappointingly.
The move towards US-style chain gangs was suggested by a Home Office minister, Hazel Blears, who said it would improve confidence in the criminal justice system.[From Community chain-gang plan 'a cheap gimmick' - Crime, UK - The Independent]
This may well have been the only sensible policy that she has ever proposed, but anyway it never happened. It turns out that our tough-on-crime Commissariat opted for more drastic action, requiring young offenders to carry out between 10 and 42 minutes of community service PER WEEK. No wonder our streets are safe again.
Under joint guidance from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Youth Justice Board, young criminals may only have to do limited community work.[From Teenage offenders could do just ten minutes community work a week - Telegraph]
Well, "limited" is one way to put it I suppose.
[posted with ecto]