Claire Rayner once said that statistics showed that crime rates could be halved by the simple expedient of locking up the male population between the ages of 18 and 25.
It seems from Jenny Willott's latest research that the government has already embarked on this scheme. The next stage is to lock children up for longer. ;-(
The alternative may be more expensive in the short term, but will surely save money and contribute to a better society in the long. As Jenny says: "We should focus our efforts on restorative justice programmes where communities have the powers to establish panels which would require offenders to face up to their crimes and engage in community work as reparation.
"We need to provide more effective non-custodial punishments and preventative work based in the community. Young offenders should be given full access to education and training opportunities so that they have the skills to break out of the cycle of reoffending."