Andrew Percy, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Brigg and Goole, in the north east of England, has suggested that prisoners should work in chain gangs to clear litter on the side of major highways.
Percy made the suggestion after becoming concerned about rubbish mounting up by motorways in his constituency, including hundreds of bottles of urine thrown away by lorry drivers.
From The Daily Telegraph:
“In the US I have seen chain gangs out clearing highways – why can’t we do that here?” he said. “We have criminals expected to pay back – why not get them out there doing something of use?”
I’m wondering how and when Mr. Percy has seen chain gangs in the US, since they were phased out years ago in most states, with the exception of Arizona, where in Maricopa County the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio reinstituted chain gangs in 1995. Have you ever visited Arizona, Mr. Percy?
The Tory MP has written to the Highways Agency to complain about growing piles of litter on the M62 and A63 in East Yorkshire following complaints from his constituents.
More wonderful Percy quotes from The Daily Telegraph:
“We need a British equivalent of the US chain gang,” he said. “The only risk we have in this country is there are too many do-gooders claiming it’s against [prisoners’] human rights.
“We don’t necessarily need them to be wearing orange jump suits and chained together, but what we should be looking at is we’ve got all these people sat in prison who could be working in the community.”
It’s true that litter is a problem on England’s motorways, but can this Tory MP find nothing better to complain about?
How about addressing the millions of people on the dole, with no prospect of work, the hundreds of thousands of citizens worried to death whether they can keep paying their mortgages, and the unemployed standing in queues for food handouts?
By contrast, Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary and also a Conservative, is a supporter of short “community sentences” where people work in their neighbourhoods rather than go to prison.
Clarke has also unveiled plans to get prisoners to work for private companies within jails in the hope of instilling a culture of “purposeful hard work”. The minister has promised to double the number of inmates working up to 40 hours per week because they are a “wasted resource”.
I’d also like to point out to Mr. Percy that the US has such a good working prison system that the country has over a quarter of all of the world’s prisoners in their prisons. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to copy this system? Remember too that the penal system in the US teaches people that killing people is wrong by killing people.
Maybe Andrew Percy should first try clearing the rubbish littering the fast lane of the M62 himself.
Photo Credit: missbeanie