Archive article from The Socialist Issue 357
Labour's Crime Policies Won't Work
AS ANOTHER general election looms, Blair and Blunkett are renewing their pledge to tackle crime. After seven years of New Labour's 'tough on crime' stance and the previous 19 years of Tory bootcamps, Blair believes it is time to end the 'liberal consensus' on law and order.
Charlie Newton, Youth worker
Everyone wants to live in safe communities where your kids are able to go out and play and your car won't be stolen or your house burgled. But is it really the case that more draconoian measures are the answer?
Blair would like us to believe that crime has increased because society has been 'too liberal' and parents have not got control of their kids, but that simply isn't true.
During the last few years the prison population has rocketed, new repressive measures such as curfews, CCTV and tagging have been introduced or stepped up, has it worked? The Tories and New Labour have failed miserably with their draconian policies. Over 70% of those detained re-offend on release.
To find a solution you need to understand the problem. Even the government acknowledge, buried away in documentary evidence, that crime is linked to poverty and social deprivation; produce a map of poverty and the map of crime will be very much the same.
After thirty years of attacks on the working-class and their communities, millions of children grow up in poverty, in inadequate housing, in communities with high unemployment and ravaged by low pay and insecurity for those at work.
With services to support families in crisis cut to the bone and youth work underfunded, young people are growing up alienated and without hope for a decent future.
Decent training at trade union rates of pay, well paid jobs and apprenticeships and the prospect of a decent future would draw many young people towards a meaningful future.
But such a programme is out with political parties funded by big business and driven to meet their demand for profits. All capitalism can offer is increasingly repressive policies which will solve nothing.
The Socialist Party campaigns for decent housing, youth facilities, jobs and training for a real improvement in the communities where working-class people live.