There you go. Now you and I, being the ignorant proles that we are, may exist under the sad delusion that we would feel happier if people who want to mug us, break into our houses, or steal our cars were placed somewhere where they were unable to do this. But, we are clearly wrong. Rather, we would be much more content if these people were walking freely in our streets.
She claimed the rising prison population had added to a feeling of insecurity among the public -because people feared criminals who were locked up out of sight.
"For me, prison is an inappropriate punishment for all but the most actively dangerous of offenders, and using incarceration at the current rates actively contributes to the fear of crime," she said.
By "asks far too much", I assume she means "asks that it should work". And I can't see how it's the fault of the public if they leave public protection to the police and courts. What else are they expected to do? If you yourself take action against crime, you can easily end up being locked up.
Miss Egan called for a full debate on imprisonment: "We sanitise our society by displacing justice from communities affected by crime.
"Dislocating punishment from the community, allowing criminal justice to become, and to feel that it becomes, active and impersonal... this makes us all more fearful."
She accused the public of being "lazy" by leaving public protection to the police, courts and prisons, declaring: "Society asks far too much of the criminal justice system."
However, as regards the stuff about bringing criminal justice back to the community: I'm all for that. As I've remarked before, sticking gang members and similar thugs in the stocks or the pillories would have a highly beneficial effect all round. But I somehow doubt that Miss Egan wants that kind of thing.
All told, I find it difficult to see how Miss Egan's comments amount to anything more than post-modern leftist rhetoric, using a lot of buzz words, and signifying absolutely nothing. It has been demonstrated, that, in most cases, prison works. This being so, let's have more of it, not less. And if they run out of beds, then some prisoners will just have to sleep on the floor.