I am talking about the rumpus caused by the assessment that it is going to take over £1 million per annum to jail the members of the family who brutalised that child. One of the reasons offered is that attempts will be made by other prisoners to carry out their own form of justice, and in doing so will endanger prison officers and other prisoners. I’m assuming that this is based on the philosophy that these people are going to be treated in exactly the same way as someone caught nicking cars. My approach would be considerably different, and while I know almost nothing about running a prison, during my war service for a few days I was a jailer in a naval lock-up, in charge of two would-be murderers who were there because they failed to kill the very person the rest of us were dying to kill.
For a start off I would decide on permanent solitary confinement for each of the family. I would then put in hand the construction of a cell-block, consisting of three units, each with a bed sitting-room and a toilet-cum shower room. This block would be accessed from some part of the main prison with a suitable double door security system. At the rear of the block would be an exercise yard partially planted so that the atmosphere was not totally barren. Each unit would be provided with a flat TV and radio sets within the walls behind unbreakable glass panels and operated by remote control, to prevent vandalism. The whole unit would have CCTV connected to the control centre of the prison. Food the would be provided as it was in the prison that I was in charge of, of such a type that knives and forks were not required and the food would be eaten either by hand or using a plastic spoon. The inmates would go on exercise individually, twice a day, for acceptable periods. They wood be provided with a keyboard connected to a hidden computer, using the TV screen as part of the equipment, to give them some mental stimulation. I would assess the construction of this property, considering it was only required for a short time, unless it became popular, could be built little more than £100,000. The supervision would be remote, both sound and vision, but adequate, and they would only need to be attended morning and afternoon to have verbal communication rather than just visual, which would overcome all the worries about further excesses. I don’t care if these people have lost their human rights, as seen by some more socially advanced than I am. What I do see is that these people are not unique in this society that we have today, and we are going to have to change our views on how they are treated when they are discovered. The number of brutal attacks being perpetrated on a daily basis throughout this UK is rising steadily. Whether the thought of this solution will be a deterrent is no more likely than hanging was, but at least if it saves millions of pounds per annum, then in my book it is justified.