Sunday, November 13, 2005

Solving the problems of unruly youth

In his review of the new book by the admirable - if unfortunately-named - Ms Lynne Truss, (Talk to the Hand: the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life) the Labour MP for Birkenhead, Mr Frank Field, makes an interesting observation. Writing in the New Statesman, the former Minister for Thinking The Unthinkable states that crime levels in Edwardian Britain were so low, and yobbish behaviour so exceptional, that the penal system was able to cope with matters which go unpunished today.
"A quarter of those serving time before the First World War were inside for such misdemeanours as riding a bicycle without lights, playing games in the street, gambling or making lewd comments. If Edwardian criteria for imprisonment were applied in today's Britain, there would be no young people on out streets."
The scheme may have had its disadvantages but, for the moment, I find myself unable to locate them.

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