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Prison Cell Or Psychiatrists Couch?

On the 22nd November last year Rotary Club stalwart Rose Spanswick, 60, took a knife from her kitchen, disguised herself in a hoody then knocked on the door of her neighbours James and Sheila Patmore. When retired nurse Mrs Patmore, 74, opened the door, Spanswick barged her way in and knocked her to the ground, stabbing her repeatedly. Mr Patmore came to his wife's rescue, restraining Spanswick and both he and his wife survived.

From the reports I've seen, it seems to me that Rose was, at the very least, not fully rational; "stabbed repeatedly" tells you all you need to know about her state of mind. And I'd suggest by the comments of the judge, her defence counsel and even the victim's son, everyone involved with the case is of a similar opinion.

Defending counsel Philip Wakeham said: ‘For a woman of this character to stand in the dock and plead guilty to three very serious charges can only be described as a downfall of epic proportions.’

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall accepted that her actions were those of a ‘desperate woman’ suffering a ‘moment of madness’, but said the ‘frenzied attack...was a deliberate attempt to rob two vulnerable people in their own home’.

The victims' son, Julian said: "Hubris and the desperate need to keep up appearances prevented her from asking for help to alleviate her worsening financial situation."
"It led her instead to try and cover up her plight by committing crimes so calculated and brutal that they could have ended the lives of two innocent and decent people."

Rose Spanswick was sentence on the 2nd March 2011 to eight years in prison.

Source articles...
Daily Mail - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362306/Rotary-Club-stalwart-gets-years-knife-attack-neighbours.html
BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-12625726

Eight years! That's 8 years - rapists get less, some murderers get less.
She may not be 'mad' in the sense of clinically barking but she was obviously desperate and has quite frankly gone a bit nuts; she doesn't need 'prison', she needs counselling / psychotherapy.

It occurred that perhaps it was a cost issue, that psychotherapy would be too expensive, so I've done a bit of checking.

Cost of keeping one person in a UK prison per annum £45,000 (May 2010 report from Prison Reform Trust)

Cost of keeping Rose Spanswick in prison for 8 years
(She'll probably serve a lot less but that's the sentence so that's the basis for the calculation.)
£45,000 X 8 = £360,000
More than a third of a million!!

Cost of visiting/calling/emailing a private professional psychotherapist / counsellor £40 - £150 per hour but Government provided 'NHS' counsellors could probably be secured at a lower cost than the 'private' average of £95, so we'll say an average of £75 per hour.

Cost of handing down an 8 year suspended, probationary or 'community service' sentence conditional on Psychotherapy?
Say the person visits 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, and Fri) every week for the 8 year sentence.

3 X £75 = £225 per week
£225 X 52 = £11,700 per annum
£11,700 X 8 = £93,600 - 8 years total

That's just over 25% of the cost of similar prison term. And, I suggest, almost immeasurably more valuable to the prisoner and society than banging 'em up in a lord of the flies environment.

After 8 years in prison, which prisoner is likely to be saner than when they started the sentence?
The one thrown to the prison lions, to be bullied, tormented and demeaned
the one kept in touch with reality under the guidance of a mental health professional?

At only 25% of the cost, it's got to be worthy of a pilot scheme to find out, hasn't it?
Especially at a time when the government is scrooging every penny

Now, I realise that this would only deal with the root of the problem, the punishment for the crime would have to be considered (8 years community service sounds almost worse than prison to me though), but the prison service is supposed to rehabilitate.
It seems to me that the 'punish and rehabilitate' ethos is archaic, a suggestion hinted at by the UK's re-offender rate (PRT report) and I feel it may be time to look at it the other way up, so to speak, the ethos perhaps should be rehabilitate and punish.

We generally think of the punishment having to fit the crime, that the prisoner should suffer for his or her actions. And that's fine whilst we are thinking in terms of 'direct retribution', but I wonder if vengeance, the sort of karmic re-balancing our justice system attempts to achieve, is fundamentally flawed because it can never truly redress the victim's loss; there is no rolling back of time to prevent the crime occurring, which would be the only way to erase the psychological damage done to the victim.

Whilst we(society) do want offenders punished for their crimes, I think maybe we'd be more comforted if we knew that any offender reentering society, will return as a well-adjusted individual.
I think what we are all looking for is not punishment so much as justice, for the victim, for the criminal but also for the wider society in which we all rub along.

If method's to rehabilitate; for the wider benefit of society, were held higher in the judge's mind than clap 'em in irons and throw 'em to the dungeon rats maybe we'd see an improvement in the rehabilitation numbers?

And, in the longer term? A calmer society?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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