By | August 28, 2010 5 Comments

Revolving jail door for UK criminal

David Fairbaim of the UK was released from prison, given £45 to get home, spent all the money drinking, spent three hours in a hospital, and then robbed a garage. He’s been doing it all his life.

Read Career criminal, 37, jailed for the 73RD TIME for robbing shop only hours after release from prison, on

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Posted in: Laws and courts

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Maybe “home” to David Fairbaim is prison, so he deliberately does illegal things to return to the place that is familiar to him. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to take him into their own home (especially at his age), helping him “get a life” on the outside – too much time and trouble.

Ox Drover

This guy is so typical of so many of the “criminal element” that have spent most of their life in jails or prisons, have no social or job skills or any desire to learn any. Any “friends” these people have are their own caliber and are not going to be interested in “improving” them and have nothing of any benefit to “teach” them.

I’ve seen articles here lately that talk about crime and punishment in the UK that make our problems seem not so bad. There are only about 25 or 30 people in prison in UK that are “life without parole” status, and there are some pretty horrible criminals in prison there that WILL get out. Just like this guy.

While this man may not be “jack the ripper” he has shown that he will NEVER CHANGE or “improve” so he should remain in prison or jail for the duration of his life before he does kill someone in a robbery maybe not even meaning to.


It’s certainly astounding–not to mention scandalous–that this alcoholic drug addict and career criminal has been let out on the streets to prey on the public no less that 73 times. However, that’s not quite the MOST astounding (and scandalous) part of this story. I hope people read it carefully. Judging from the scarcity of comments in the newspaper blog on this second issue, I wonder how many readers did. Following the report of Andrew Fairbairn’s latest crime, the newspaper article continued:

Campaigners said the justice system was failing the public.

Darn right it is!

Andrew Neilson, assistant director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said short sentences don’t work.

Right again, Mr. Neilson!

He said: “Short sentences create more crime – they don’t create solutions or safety. Of the 53,333 people jailed in 2008 for six months or less, 74 per cent were re-convicted within a short time of release.

Good point! So far, Andrew Neilson of the Howard League for Penal Reform sounds like a stalwart champion of effective crime prevention! He continues:

“Most served an average of six to weight [sic] weeks at a cost of £530million to the Ministry of Justice.”

Yes, six to eight weeks is useless! It’s no deterrent at all to the career criminal. But why does Neilson seem concerned specifically with the cost of keeping these criminals in jail? If anything a bigger problem is the cost of processing them repeatedly through what’s jokingly called the “justice” system, time after time. Police, courts, judges and lawyers cost the taxpayer a lot of money for every trial. It’s a sure bet that Warren Robinson, who defended this robber Fairbairn, was also paid with taxpayers’ money. By comparison, one study estimated the cost of keeping a criminal in prison (in the U.S.) at about $25,000 a year. Surely Fairbairn could have been kept in prison for several years for the cost of all these 73 trials he’s been through. Then the public would have been better protected.

But Neilson elaborates on his own concern:

“We need to consider whether we can afford to keep sending the addicted and those with mental health needs to prison over and over again, when it demonstrably has very little impact on future crime.”

Doing it “over and over again” is indeed a costly business. However, mental health issues or not, what they need to consider is whether they can afford NOT to send these criminals to prison! What’s the cost to the public at large if they don’t? In a 2004 article titled Prison is a bargain, a British writer points out that keeping persistent offenders in prison is cheaper than the alternative–possibly FAR cheaper–when the cost to the victims of crime is taken into account. So what is Neilson actually trying to say?

“Individuals with problems such as alcoholism should be receiving treatment part of their sentence.”

Well, yes, if treatment does eliminate their drug and alcohol dependency then it’s a good investment. Still, if they’re locked up for long enough to keep them off alcohol and drugs altogether, that alone should give them a head start on staying clean and dry. If they wanted to, that is. But Neilson concludes:

“Not only are community sentences more effective at reducing re offending, they also save money.”

AAAARRRGGHHHH! There’s the sting in the tail–right at the very end! If anyone thought Neilson was a champion of effective crime prevention, all I can say is “Ha ha, fooled again!” Since “short” sentences don’t work, this clown doesn’t want to send these criminals to jail AT ALL!

Another article from across the pond reports on the hidden costs of community sentences over custody.

It’s insane that criminals like Fairbairn have been permitted to get away with this behavior seventy-three times. But it’s even MORE insane that when someone like Andrew Neilson and his Howard League for Penal Reform is confronted with the abject failure of the justice system to protect the public from predators like Fairbairn, all they want to do is pull out what few remaining teeth the law still has left!

It could well be argued that the Howard League is a dinosaur left over from a bygone age. Reportedly it’s the oldest organization of its kind in the world, founded in 1866. It’s all fine and good for an organization to be venerable, but this one seems to have outlived its usefulness. I’m sure it was needed in 1866. Back then I dare say they were still flogging boy chimney sweeps and whatnot over in the England of Dickens, who incidentally was horrified at the public executions they had at the time. Though mid-Victorian prisons were better than the squalor of Newgate in the 18th century, I expect they were still pretty bad and in need of reform. Some would say the Howard League still had work to do as late as 1948 when they succeeded in getting the cat o’ nine tails banned. But that was generations ago. In the last half century, outfits like the Howard League have been the very epitome of what people mean by “bleeding heart liberals, soft on crime.” This too-tolerant approach has been responsible for much of the epidemic of crime in recent times.

Two or three commentators in the newspaper blog referred to the “three strikes and you’re out” policy we’ve been successfully introducing in the U.S. It’s interesting to note that Britain USED to have a similar provision for persistent offenders. They called it “preventive detention.” I don’t know when it first started, but it was provided for in the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908. So more than a hundred years ago, when there was nowhere near as much “public” money to spend as there is now, the UK still must have seen the wisdom and cost effectiveness of keeping persistent offenders locked up. An article by Jim Brown mentions how this system worked:

Prisoners could earn up to 1/3 remission of their sentence for good conduct but there were two categories of offender who had no remission ”“ those undergoing Corrective Training or Preventive Detention.

After two serious criminal convictions an offender would be warned that he was now eligible for Corrective Training (known as CT) and this was for not less than 2 and up to 4 years imprisonment. On release from CT, if over the age of 30, he became eligible for Preventive Detention (PD), meaning that if brought before the court for a further criminal offence, no matter how minor, he would be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years and up to 14 years imprisonment. These two sentences were very effective, both as a deterrent for serial offenders and as a means of keeping persistent criminals out of action for a sustained period. The protection of the public was the guiding principle.

But that was a long time ago, since Jim Brown’s article is about “Traditional Policing in the 1950s.” Too bad such effective methods have been abandoned in the misguided years since then. Outfits like the Howard League delight in calling themselves “progressive,” but in terms of “the protection of the public” they’re actually going backwards!


ha ha Redwald ……..backwards it is!! what is wrong with us!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Ox Drover

Dear Redwald,

I’ve been doing a study lately on sentencing and the effects of sentencing and recidivism rates. In the US only 40% of released offenders complete their parole without going back (or 3 years whichever applies) so we also have a revolving door.

Many states are accepting the 3-strikes approach and one man just got sent up for 25-life for a “small” $10 theft, but it was NOT FOR the theft of $10 but for the HUNDREDS of thefts before that PLUS the more serious crimes also proceeding the $10 theft.

Right now in England according to what I am reading there are only a FEW DOZEN serial killers even who have NATURAL LIFE without parole sentences. In the UK you about have to kill the queen to go up for a REAL LIFE sentence. It seems about 15 years seems to be the time for Murder.

For a while the social psychology of western civilization was that each baby was born a BLANK slate upon which environment wrote, (Ah la Dr. Spock) therefore all criminals were just “misguided” individuals who could be reformed by the proper Kindness that they had apparently not gotten in childhood. Genetics were not considered at all in the human being, though they were more and more embraced in animal and plant cultures and cultivation.

Still, our social psychology is having problems accepting that poverty does not CAUSE psychopathy or crime. Indeed psychopathy causes poverty.

Some sub-set of people are not “trainable” to live peacefully in society even if given all the best of education and upbringing. This group of people can only be identified by the fact that they continually commit crimes of theft and violence.

Those people, for the sake of the rest of the population who do live generally peacefully with society, need to be removed from society as a while andn incarcerated.

The COST of the crime they commit, plus providing them attorneys, judges, baliffs, juries, etc. each time they commimt another crime, plus the room and board and medical attention, I think adds up to much much more than a long sentence in which there is no cost of crime to the public, and only one instance of a trial.

I’m with you, Redwald!

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