Consider a woman who has a bizarre mental episode during which she robs a pensioner. The woman immediately confesses and pleads guilty, she has no previous convictions, no weapon is used, Â£7 is stolen, no harm is done, and she is an anorexic with an 18-month-old child. I’d like to imagine a) how you’d sentence the crime b) how you think the crime would be sentenced in real life.
Now, *I* believe sending the woman to jail at all would be a grossly stupid idea, punishing her child, ensuring her condition gets worse, and making no positive difference to anyone. But I realise that I’m a pathetic bleeding heart liberal, and hence that my suggestion of compulsory treatment and a community sentence is toward the bottom of anyone’s desires or expectations.
(yes, I’m also aware because I grew up in a middle-class family and went to university, that means that – even when I live in poor areas that have high crime rates – my experience of them as entirely managable and my experience of being robbed as being a bit annoying but nothing more doesn’t count. Only working class people are allowed to comment on crime, and even then only if they think we should bring back hanging ‘n’ flogging.)
But back to the case: the woman was actually given 14 months (more than a year, fact fans with poor division skills) inside. Now, I’m willing to bet that most readers, thanks to the brainwashing of the World’s Worst Press (TM) would have guessed something closer to half-an-hour’s community service and a holiday in the Maldives…