In a letter to the Times today, Lord Woolf brings up once again his old “donkey” that there are too many prisoners in the UK. It has repeatedly been proved that this is not so. The reason that the UK has more prisoners than any other country in Europe is because the UK has more crime than any other country in Europe. In other words, if you commit crime, you will have to go to jail. It has also been proved that the thing that professional criminals are afraid of is long jail sentences; therefore, the way to stop crime is to send habitual prisoners to jail for long periods.
Of course, this is not possible because governments do not want to build jails; they want to be given jails for free. In other words, what we require for prison stability in this country is exactly the opposite of what Lord Woolf suggests.