Remember how, in the movie Brazil, the families of persons detained by the government were sent a bill for "information retrieval" (read: interrogation by torture)? Well, looks like someone in the British government has been watching too much Terry Gilliam:
WHAT do you give someone who?s been proved innocent after spending the best part of their life behind bars, wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn?t commit?
An apology, maybe? Counselling? Champagne? Compensation? Well, if you?re David Blunkett, the Labour Home Secretary, the choice is simple: you give them a big, fat bill for the cost of board and lodgings for the time they spent freeloading at Her Majesty?s Pleasure in British prisons.
On Tuesday, Blunkett will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than ?3000 for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn?t have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets.
Blunkett?s fight has been described as ?outrageous?, ?morally repugnant? and the ?sickest of sick jokes?, but his spokesmen in the Home Office say it?s a completely ?reasonable course of action? as the innocent men and women would have spent the money anyway on food and lodgings if they weren?t in prison. The government deems the claw-back ?Saved Living Expenses?.
All the more reason not to introduce the death penalty, I guess: You can't collect as much revenue just charging for the bullet. (via Jim Henley)