What Matters? 1

Mimi ON Jul 30, 2010 AT 9:50 am

The end of the ASBO?

The end of the ASBO?

Is this the end of the ASBO?
Home secretary Theresa May announced this week that it is ‘time to move beyond’ ASBOs. Apparently, it is time to wait for it… ‘stop tolerating bad behaviour.’

Yes, and issuing a civil or criminal penalty in the first place was a fantastic, ground breaking initiative, I think not.

This is how it goes. Yob behaves in an anti-social way in a public place. Asbo issued to him/her possibly with a fine. Yob couldn’t give a hoot about getting the ASBO, in fact I’ll go as far to say they show it off as a badge of honour to their mates. Fine isn’t paid. Yob carries on behaving in exactly the same way. Point of ASBO?

Nearly 17,000 ASBO’s were issued between 1999 and 2008. Over half of these were breached and not just on the one occasion. For the MAJORITY of people, ASBO’s are issued to – they just don’t care and it certainly doesn’t make them change their ways forever. The figures showing that half were breached prove they are perceived as ‘badges of honour.’

Now, obviously Theresa May is going to completely rip apart the ‘legacy’ Labour left over this, but her ideas of a “rehabilitative and restorative” approach appear a little too holistic for my liking.

She’s been rather hazy over her plans but has alluded that offenders should fix their crime. This is fine for people who have thrown eggs over a car, knocked down a fence or broken a door but what about those that carry out more brutal crimes?

I think she needs to consider different approaches for different ages. Sending a prolific offender aged 50 to a military style boot camp to mend his ways will have a completely different effect compared to a one time offender who’s just turned 16. I do think there’s something to be said for getting and achieving younger people to change their ways before it’s ‘too late’ and that destructive behaviour pattern has stuck.

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