The legal system in most western countries is completely at odds with what ordinary people want. In the UK the majority of criminals are convicted of another crime within five years of being released from prison. If one accepts that prisons are "Universities of crime" where criminals learn how to avoid getting caught, then the proportion who commit new crimes on being released is clearly far higher than the proportion who are caught and convicted. The only anti-crime measure which is absolutely guaranteed to be effective is not to release convicted criminals back into society.

In the UK, opinion polls show massive majorities in favour of the death penalty. I am one of the minority which opposes that. My main reason is that too many innocent people are convicted of offences for which they would undoubtedly be executed if we restored the death penalty. For the same reason, I oppose brutality against prisoners. I am even prepared to accept that some people who have committed a crime deserve a second chance and may not re-offend. But not everyone deserves a second chance. People who have committed one crime should not be released back into society if there is a likelihood that they will re-offend. This decision should be taken by people who will suffer adverse consequences if they make the wrong decision.

Keeping people in prison is expensive. In the UK we have a state-run National Health system, funded by taxpayers, which entitles everyone to free treatment. We also have a social security system to protect people against financial hardship. Assuming a static level of taxation, every penny spent on keeping criminals in prison is money which can't be spent helping the sick and needy. Therefore, governments should persue low-cost options for imprisonment, with the aim of eventuallly eliminating the cost to the taxpayer. Here are three possibilities:

If these proposals contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, then we should ignore the convention. It wasn't written by people who were forced to live their lives in fear of criminals.