Are we really going to witness thousands of convicts being forced to work unpaid around the country in a bid to kick-start the economy? Will our roads be dug by burglars, our potholes filled by shoplifters and the graffiti scrubbed from walls by fraudsters?


An Express report has David Cameron about to unleash a land army of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of convicted criminals to undertake huge industrial projects. The alternative for the prisoners will be jail.

This it appears is an extension of what is seen as the soft option of community service. Out will go road sweeping and window cleaning and in will come hard manual labour.

Three private companies, Serco , Kalyx  and Compac have been approved by the Ministry of Justice to tender for the projects.

A Whitehall source revealed to the Express: “Putting it simply it is payback time. This policy will send out a very tough message that there is no easy ride and that it is everybody’s ­responsibility to rebuild the economy and the country. One hundred thousand is a big workforce, almost doubling the 55,000 now sentenced to community service or unpaid work.”

Is this in conjunction with NCOs to be recruited to oversee thugs on community service and all part of a grand plan?

This means there is work to be done. So what of the people who worked hard all their lives and now worry about redundancy? Are their jobs to be taken by what is tantamount to slave labour? Will those entering the job market find even fewer jobs out there?

This will definitely kick-start the economies of the companies that get free labour. Does this mean they can undercut other firms?

I also wonder how many of the people who decided on this have been involved in modern industrial jobs? As far as I can see most of the jobs are highly skilled or require specific industry qualifications. Hard physical work is done by mechanical things such as JCBs and cranes. Yes and they are driven by skilled individuals. I have not seen a gang of workers with pick axes and shovels for many a year. Then there's all the health and safety implications.

So what exactly are these people going to be doing?

If I were one of the convicts I would do the work then sue the backside off the government for breaching the Human Rights Act. The compensation for which will come from the taxpayer. The shareholders of the firms concerned will be left to pick up the benefits.

All we need now is a willing police force to round up and charge as many miscreants as possible and then the judiciary to make sure they are appropriately sentenced.

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