Letter: Prison system isn't working

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The Independent Online
Sir: I agree with Michael Howard: 'Society cannot afford to be starry-eyed about crime and punishment'. But, like the criminals it seeks to punish, the Government seems to pursue only short-term solutions to long-term problems, and to ignore the lessons from experience, eg, the failure of approved schools and borstals, and the 'short, sharp shock' of the Eighties.

It seems to be a waste of taxpayers' money to build six more prisons, thus investing in future generations of criminals; pounds 360m would be better invested in providing good-quality pre-school nurseries for three-year-olds, thus giving priority to those whose parents are severely under-resourced. If this were done, we would have a real chance of reducing crime - not this year perhaps, nor next, but in the foreseeable future.

Yours faithfully,


Windsor, Berkshire