Thursday, July 29, 2010

The end of ASBOs

The UK government has announced it will scrap Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. Good. ASBOs are an affront to the justice system, allowing effectively criminal punishments to be dispensed without any of the usual safeguards. They use a civil standard of proof and hearsay and gossip are admitted as "evidence". The system has seen a large number of cruel and absurd results, from the targetting of children with autism and tourettes for their disabilities to the attempt to ban someone from wearing low-slung trousers and a hoodie (plus of course the woman jailed for having sex too loudly and the man banned from dressing as a schoolgirl). Their demise is something we should all celebrate.

As for the replacement, the Conservatives are apparently looking at an NZ-style system of restorative justice. You know, something that works, rather than simply criminalising young people while providing authoritarians with a power-trip.

And hopefully, this will end any suggestion of imposing such orders here. Though with Judith Collins as Minister of Police, we can never be safe.