Former tory chancellor Ken Clarke has responsibility for prisons he has been reported as suggesting Prison doesn't work and that he is in favour of more community sentences instead of short term Prison sentences but what is motivation the prison population is now 80000
and has steadily risenthrough succeses governments since Michael Howard was home secretary and the failure of the Whitelaw short sharp shock scheme which merely made prisoners fitter and stronger and able to committ more crime on release however middle Britain loved it until they realised it just didn't work.
tHE Labour government built more prison places and pumped a considerable sum into offender rehabilitation before introducing community sentences which were cheaper and shorter but made little space for rehabilitation the opposition of the time backecd by traditionally conservative mediasaw community sentences as a soft option, pandering to that the labour government introduced high visibility jackets so, in theory the public could see prisoners were paying their debt back to society this rather conservative idea weas brought in by Tony Blair's government but lead totricky difficulties with the general public sometimes seeing fit to verbally abuse many of those supposedly atoning for the is misdeedsMr Clarkeis worrying middle England by suggesting their should be shorter sentences in the community and fewer prison placeslittle attention is being given to the tradoitional; conservative view that prisoners should be imprisoned as much to keep them away from society as to pay the price for their crimes
How will the average Tory voter react to burglars who are found guilty doing time in the communitymany will be flabbergasted and may trigger conservative disaffection with a government focusing on cutting the things they perceive to matter to quickly at the expense of their safety Coming quickly on the tail of the current home secretary's promised cuts in the police force middle england is sure to feel less safe init's bed at night and all to save money quickly rather than prudently over a longerperiod this could have some of the green wellie brigade joining demos in London knowing that Their safety is being compromised from Tunbridge Wells too BathFROM Oxford to Wilmslow traditional conservatives will not like this
It is premature to suggest the government could be damaged by this but it is certainly far from impossible.