Unduly and Harshly Punitive?

The summer edition of City Journal showcases a lengthy Theodore Dalrymple essay refuting the typically trendy, liberal nonsense about an unjust and harsh criminal system—this time in Britain.

If a man is held in detention for only five years for having killed two women (his excuses are now acknowledged to have been concocted), it is hardly surprising that burglars should spend only six days per burglary in prison. What is remarkable is that, among the British intelligentsia, the British criminal-justice system should be almost universally regarded as unduly and harshly punitive, and that this belief should be impervious to reason or evidence. In Britain, as no doubt elsewhere, the uneducated sometimes have a better, though intuitive, grasp of reality than do the educated.

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