Nicholas Robinson; Burglary; 6 months: An appropriate sentence? (via MTPT)

I hope we all agree that all the looting and violence was wrong, but 6 months in prison for stealing something worth £3.50….really?

I personally think these “rioters” (most of whom seem to be simply opportunistic thieves) would be better punished by being made to clear up the mess they’ve made…i.e. by community service orders.

As the first cases make their way through to sentencing, one case has attracted much comment: 23 year old Nicholas Robinson, an Electrical Engineering student, who was sentenced to six months in prison for stealing bottles of water worth £3.50 from a branch of Lidl in Brixton. I’ve already made clear my views on prison sentences of this length for non-violent offenders involved in the riots, so I want to look instead at whether the sentence was a … Read More

via MTPT

7 Responses to “Nicholas Robinson; Burglary; 6 months: An appropriate sentence? (via MTPT)”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    I’m no fan of prison either. Best approach to burglary is that you pay it back to the person you stole it from, threefold – and if necessary direct from your State benefits.

    • The effectiveness of this policy seems to fall off rather sharply as one decreases the probability that a burglar gets caught during a single job, although it would be excellent at deterring the most inept burglars. You could call it the “go pro or go home” law!

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      The effectiveness of ANY way by which society deals with burglary declines with the probability of getting caught. Could you clarify?

  2. Hey Anton, why would you assume that all thieves receive ‘State benefits’?

  3. telescoper Says:

    Quite. Apparently many of the looters – most were not involved in what I would call a riot – were actually in paid employment at the time.

    I’m all in favour of reparations in cash and/or in labour for those who can afford it, and making benefits (if any) conditional on community service if necessary. I’m not in favour of withdrawing all benefits from people involved in these crimes, as that will shut them out entirely from any chance of turning their lives around, and give them little choice but to turn to crime permanently. Some may already have done that, of course.

    Sending people to prison achieves very little, and indeed probably makes them more likely to reoffend, and is also extremely expensive – much more so than keeping them on benefits.

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    Prison is crap at rehab if you look at the re-offence stats. Not surprisingly, for prison is a university of criminal practice.

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