Comment: Punishment or humiliation?
Dec 9 2008 by Val Javin, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
THERE IS something deeply worrying about the drive to make those doing community service wear high visibility vests saying Community Payback.
Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik, who also happens to be justice minister, is all for the scheme. He thinks that by making offenders wear the orange vests, justice will be seen to be done.
And what’s more, he thinks that this high profile scheme will convey a message to local residents that being sent to work on community schemes is not a soft option for those who have committed an offence.
But do either of those arguments hold water? Isn’t part of any sentencing regime, the notion that offenders will not just be punished, but rehabilitated. And how is that accomplished by humiliating people, by talking about “payback.”
Offenders certainly need to be called to book for what they have done but humiliating them, making them evermore the outsider doesn’t seem an appropriate way of showing offenders that mistakes can be learned from.