Q. With falling crime rates and the creeping de-criminalisation of drugs, will our prisons be almost empty soon?
A. There has never been a shortage of people to persecute and incarcerate. I am sure we will think of something. For instance, many in the legal profession have always felt that children, especially teenagers, would gain from a custodial sentence. I am not suggesting long sentences (except in certain cases). Sentences would mostly take place in the school holidays so as not to interfere with school work. There would be no criminal record as the Child Custody (“CC”) System would not deal with crimes but everyday family irritations such as talking back and eating with elbows on the table. Not every infraction would result in imprisonment. For instance, what teenage son would refuse to put out the garbage if he had a suspended sentence hanging over his head? Only the consent of the parents would be required, and I expect that, in most cases, this would be enthusiastically given, especially for Holiday CC.
Once the principle had been established it could be extended to other troublesome family members such as mothers-in-law. Forcibly sending your mother-in-law to prison may be a breach of her human rights. However, human rights’ lawyers have never defended mothers-in-law in the past, and I suspect that they will not start now.
Once the criminals were cleared out of the prison system, wives could be attracted by a Hi-Security diet that really worked. Fathers may seek some solitude especially leading up to Christmas, birthdays or weddings. No more household chores, fielding requests for money, or going shopping for even short periods may be a welcome respite.
Include a “Throw Away the Key” option for spouses and we will need more prisons not less.