Britain’s Criminal-Justice Frivolity

Yet another stabbing by an Islamic fanatic released halfway before the end of his prison term rouses the ire of Theodore Dalrymple in his City Journal column.

The British criminal-justice system once again exposed its elaborate and ceremonious frivolity. This frivolity is serious in its effects, not only for its immediate consequences on Britain’s crime rate but also because it undermines the legitimacy of the state, whose first and inescapable duty is to maintain enough order to secure the safety of citizens as they go about their lawful business.

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But good sense on criminal justice in Britain will be difficult to put into practice, for there a long march of sentimentality has occurred through the minds of the intelligentsia and elites in general. The father of the last man to be murdered by a terrorist recently released from prison—which took place only a few weeks ago—said that he hoped his son’s death would not be used as an argument for more drastic sentencing of terrorists. Does one laugh or cry?  

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