Updated: Mar 24, 2020
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I don’t want this post to feel like you’re reading an essay. But this is something that I’ve been slowly working on for a few weeks now. Can our justice system ever really be just so long as we rely on people to run it?
It’s already been proven that you are more likely to be granted for parole if your case is looked at after lunch time, because the parole board has eaten and is happier. More cases are declined parole close to before lunch time than any other time in the day. That’s astonishing that your freedom can come down to someone else hunger levels.
Some people reading this may think, well they’re prisoners, they deserve it. But let me tell you the amount of people currently serving time in prison who haven’t been convicted of a crime and are awaiting a court date is worrying. These are potentially innocent men and women being treated, in some cases, as sub-human. There is not one prison within the U.K. where the amount of prison officers surpass the amount of prisoners. Now tell me, how is that going to keep anyone safe, healthy and rehabilitated?
I have heard tales about judges, which ones people hope for because they are known for fairness and which ones people fear because of their reputation as harsh sentencers. How are we then claiming our justice system is just? Or any justice system which relies on human interaction? Juries are not always used to convict and judges are not checked on their patterns of behaviour.
Lets play devils advocate! You’ve been arrested for unpaid council tax. You’re struggling to make ends meet and even with government help you haven’t been making payments (this is a reality for many struggling to cope in the U.K.). You’ve been given a court date and you think you and your solicitor has a great case about responsible spending, income, attempts to pay and receiving help. But that morning, your judge spilt his coffee and had to change before he left the house. This meant he had no time for breakfast and when he got to work he realised that he had forgotten his mobile phone. He’s grumpy and feels like it’s just not his day. Next thing you know you have a prison sentence for 13 weeks behind bars. You’ve lost any income you would have got, potentially your housing, your family and your kids. Is that justice?
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We are all human, and as such, sometimes subconsciously make decisions based on our emotions. So how to we fix this? We can’t just see humans as flawed and such get rid of them. When would that end? There’s medical mistakes that happen all the time, we can’t just get rid of doctors and replace them with surgical robots (…yet). Laws don’t come with sentences, they come with recommended sentences. But what if we went one step further and created a new book? One which all crimes were listed, granted it would be a long book, but the sentence would be beside the crime organised into first, second or third offence and the penalty which comes with that. From paying a fine, to life in prison.
We still need juries to decide on guilt, although I do believe they should be better educated on the phrase “beyond reasonable doubt” before trail, and we still need judges to deliver sentences. But we need stricter guidelines and we need to be able to rely on our justice system, not fear it.
I’d be really interested in knowing what all my Ninjas think about this so please leave a comment, I always reply!