Letter: Amputation and the costs of crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: Persistent criminals gamble against the unlikelihood of detection; the odds are vastly in their favour. There is a 93 per cent chance of not getting caught (National Statistical Office) and of the 7 per cent that are, only about 3 per cent will go to court. Even then, the possibility of actual punishment is remote.

The article 'Amputation the answer to crime' (1 April) identifies the major cause of the soaring crime rate. The cost of crime should be increased to outweigh its benefits. Punishment should outweigh the crime and persistent offenders should have to compare the satisfaction of the crime with the punishment it would attract.

There is no need to resort to barbaric sentences of execution or amputation. Home Office research concludes that a minority of persistent offenders accounts for the majority of crimes. Target those offenders and give them ever-increasing lengths of sentences. Achieve this by increasing greatly the number of police officers and reforming the Crown Prosecution Service. Initially the prison population will considerably increase but will reduce when the punishment significantly begins to outweigh the benefits of the crime. Only then will crime be decreased.

Yours faithfully,

PETER COAD

Bristol

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