Friday, 30 July 2010

PRISON WORKS: The Intelligence Squared Debate

In April 2007, long before the Lord Chancellor launched his attack on Britain's supposed "bang 'em up" culture, three of his ideological bedfellows spoke at an Intelligence Squared debate.  They were a distinguished team: Baron Wolf, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Baron Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's Prisons, and Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust (a kind of trade union for the criminal fraternity), and they articulated perhaps the most comprehensive case against the proposition that Prison Works that can be made.

Nevertheless, they were decisively skewered, their arguments crushed in every detail, by the motley band of Dr Charles Murray, a controversial America writer, Dr Anthony Daniels – better known by his non de plume, Theodore Dalrymple – and Dr David Green, the knowledgeable but oratorically limited director of the Civitas Institute.  Dr Daniels was perhaps the most persuasive of the three, particulary as he made the following concluding appeal:

Do not, finally, imagine that you are being generous in voting against imprisonment.  Failure to imprison is, in fact, a regressive tax imposed upon the poor by the rich.

I cannot urge readers to listen and, more importantly, really to hear the arguments presented strongly enough.

Be sure to listen out for the audience contribution of David Fraser, whose weighty tome A Land Fit for Criminals probably remains the most important book on the subject of prison in Great Britain yet written.

1 comment:

  1. hi ,
    i was trying to access this.

    i have not been able to find it anywhere on the net. also the link does not play
    any link would help me thanks