What does it take? British criminal gets 578th conviction but has never been sent to prison
A man with a 50-year record of crime has been spared jail despite being found guilty of his 578th offence. The case led an MP yesterday to describe the criminal justice system as a ‘joke’.
The serial offender is one of thousands given community sentences every year for crimes including violence and sex attacks, despite having been convicted or cautioned more than 50 times before. The number in this category has increased by a quarter in a year.
The appalling statistics are seen as proof that the justice system is failing to tackle career criminals who repeatedly avoid being locked away.
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt revealed the case of the man with 578 offences in response to a parliamentary question by Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley. He refused to give any details about the offender or his crimes.
Mr Davies said: ‘This shows that the criminal justice system has become a joke. ‘Even Crispin Blunt has said that prison should be there not just for serious offenders, but for persistent offenders as well. ‘Surely when someone has committed so many crimes, somebody somewhere should say this man is a serious offender? ‘Whatever he has done, this man is surely a menace to the community and it beggars belief that he can commit 578 crimes and still not be sent to prison.
‘And of course, these are only crimes that are detected. ‘We are probably talking of thousands of crimes here. It shows that, despite what (Justice Secretary) Ken Clarke would have us believe, we have too few people in prison, not too many.’
David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘I have long argued that career criminals should be jailed for a long period, because they have no respect for the rights and obligations of normal life. ‘We all accept that prison should not be something we resort to too quickly. ‘We would all like to be given a second chance if we do something stupid – it’s the 578th chance I have a problem with.’