Then what.?

It would clearly be excellent and a massive gain if we get to a stage that people like a Frankish or a Picard were given real prison time. That could only be better than the status quo. It would at least serve the purpose of knowing that particular offender was off the streets and could not re-offend. It would also be satisfying to know that when it came around to their birthday or Christmas that they’d be spending it in jail.

Let’s pretend it is two years from now and the sentences became far more serious. Let’s pretend that home curfews and tagging orders were abandoned and that people like them were being handed up to four years for such crimes. This would be absolutely fantastic and probably make us the toughest nation in the West when it came to such matters. If we got to that stage in two years I would be thrilled, especially when set against years and years of nothing sentences.

But what then? They are still going to have to be released at some stage. It would be sublime compared to now if they served even two years – but I am far from convinced that their basic pathology would alter during those two years.

I think that in some cases time in prison could change someones attitude and lifestyle. I’ve known people that went to prison for football related violence and organising it. Many of them went into jail and when they came back out they took the view that getting involved in organised trouble at football just wasn’t worth the loss of liberty. As a consequence they leave that lifestyle and those behaviours in the past. I am less convinced that the same process can occur with a Frankish. I think they’d come out and always have that bad blood in them. I’m not convinced they’d be able to make the same conscious choice that the former football hooligan could make.

Its the same with those two girls that were locked up for just 4 years for abducting a two year old. What are they going to be like when released? I really don’t see how they can do what they did and intended to do and in two years or so they will be just fine and ready to be model citizens.
I think people of this type are dangerous – forever.

I think you can get a reformed football hooligan but I refuse to accept the concept of a reformed child abductor or a reformed dog torturer. Even the idea of it seems totally inconceivable to me.

Maybe we need to somehow make certain crimes a totally separate class of crime from other crime. Perhaps we would should pick out certain crimes and deem those guilty of them as being permanently criminally insane?


I can understand why someone might try to ram an ATM machine – financial gain. I don’t think it makes them insane though. I can understand why young guys are tribal and might be attracted into a football hooligan sub culture. Doesn’t make them insane. But when you are talking about what the brothers did, what Picard was found guilty of or what those two girls were locked up for – then I think you are speaking about a different thing altogether.
These really are the actions of someone that is obviously insane. There is patently something profoundly wrong with them and they won’t grow up and grow out of it.

Maybe people culpable of that class of crime shouldn’t even be in prison at all. Is there a case for saying that such individuals would be better suited to a centre for the criminally insane and held without limit of time?

If at some future stage science can cure such people – great. But since we are a million miles from that, isn’t it more logical to simply deem such people criminally insane and hold them in a place that is tailored to the insane rather than them being classed alongside other generic offenders?

With that being said…. maybe not.

The State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital providing care and treatment in conditions of high security for around 140 patients from Scotland and Northern Ireland who need to be detained in hospital under conditions of special security that can only be provided by the State Hospital. The hospital is located near the village of Carstairs, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.


In August 1999, a convicted killer walked free from Carstairs after his lawyers exploited a legal loophole. Noel Ruddle, who served seven years for shooting his next door neighbour with a semi-automatic Kalashnikov type rifle in 1991, was given an absolute discharge by a sheriff because his mental illness was deemed untreatable. He admitted that he has not been cured and has also boasted about beating the system. A year after his release, Ruddle escaped a prison sentence for threatening to kill a priest.
In December 2004, paranoid schizophrenic Michael Ferguson was allowed an unsupervised visit to see his fiancée at East Kilbride Shopping Centre. He failed to report back to Carstairs staff two hours later as agreed. First Minister Jack McConnell ordered an urgent report into the decision to allow such a dangerous man to go on a public visit unguarded.

In September 2008, it was revealed that there was a cost of £630,000 a year to provide the only female patient at Carstairs State Hospital a ward to herself. Labour health spokeswoman Margaret Curran said: “This defies common sense. This cannot be in the interests of the NHS or the patient… We need immediate explanation and action”.

In June 2013, a patient absconded while on an escorted outing to the McArthurGlen shopping centre in Livingston, and was later arrested and taken back into custody after being spotted by members of the public in Hamilton.


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