Atonement Redress and Justice
The recent news items about the high level of hidden slavery in the EU and UK has made me very very angry. One item outlined the case of women in the UK have been virtual slaves to very rich families who, in many cases, did not pay them, and did not even provide them with the most basic of necessities.
This news has re-triggered thoughts that have bothered me for some time about how our justice systems operated.
As it exists, our legal and justice systems would appear to be stuck back in time some hundreds of year in the past. The archaic use of wigs and gowns in court, and the sometimes obtuse language of the trade, attest to this fact alone. However, it is not lawyers and judges in fancy dress that concerns me here, it is how the law addresses serious crime.
Our Justice Systems = Punishment not Redress.
The current system of law focusses on PUNISHING the guilty parties, but does little or nothing to compensates the victims and make atonement. Over the centuries, the punishments meted out have become less and less. Prison to some is a holiday, and a time to catch up on their trade from more skilled fellow trades-people. They can get a free education in prison and do not have to worry, like the rest of us, about providing accommodation, food, heating, medical care, etc. etc.
When a fine is imposed it usually is not linked to the resources of the guilty party. If a person on £10,000 a year is fined £5,000. By all justice and fairness, a person on £2,000,000 a year should receive a fine of £1,000,000. The funds from these fines should go, at least partially, into victim redress and compensation funds. It should be possible nowadays to operate such a system by linking with the taxation system etc.
Victims and the Law.
Meanwhile our justice systems generally leave the victims of crime to fend for themselves, except maybe in cases where the victims have their own resources to take actions, or where some agency or charity initiates a civil action on their behalf. This part of the law is at best ad-hoc and in most cases not successful in redressing the injury or loss.
I believe that the justice system should first and foremost redress the harm done or loss sustained, and put punishment into second place. The State or justice system should, without being requested initiate a civil action, using all the Justice Department and the States resources, including tax and revenue systems, to secure redress.
In the case of rape, redress should include payment for full medical and psychological treatment over a period of at least 5 years, a lump sum, and a pension to the victim.
In addition to the Law seeing to redress and atonement on behalf of victims, IMHO individuals guilty of serious crimes, who own resources, should be made to pay the full cost of their own prison upkeep in addition to the costs of redress and atonement. Those on welfare should at least have a deduction made from their future welfare payments to pay back some of their prison upkeep.