Monday, November 12, 2007

Rehabilition Is A Good Thing - Unless Of Course You're A Tory

I've been a bit knocked back by the response to the news that Iain Duncan Smith has asked Jonathan Aitken to head a working group looking at prison reform. It's as though the sky has fallen in with suggestions that this is the start of his political comeback and that the Tories are looking back to the days of sleaze. Particularly smug and insulting is Tom Watson's take on the issue.

Jonathan Aitken committed a serious crime and it was right that he went to prison - although I'd like to see a breakdown of non Conservative Party members jailed for 18 months for perjury.

Surely the point of prison isn't just to punish, although it is an important part of the process - the most important but. But there is also a huge rehabilitation role to be played. Just because you're rich, or come from a Conservative background doesn't mean you are exempt from being rehabilitated. It seems to me that Jonathan Aitken is actually an ideal person to help with this. He has been in the prison system but because his background is one of privilege he hasn't had to rely on it for his future after jail, therefore he can look at it both from an involved and detached perspective.

Just because someone commits a crime shouldn't mean they are stigmatised for the rest of their lives. If they, like Jonathan Aitken, have served the sentence that they have been given and can make a valuable contribution to society this should be allowed.

Tom Watson and other sneering lefties should remember that when they attack Jonathan Aitken for having a life after jail they're attacking every single former prisoner attempting to move on. Unless of course this only applies to Conservatives.

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