The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why Pay?

The UK is proposing sentencing guidelines which would, for all practical purposes, legalize shoplifting:

Shoplifters could avoid jail no matter how many times they commit the offence, under proposals from a sentencing watchdog.

The radical change could apply even when the thief is a persistent offender who has breached community sentences in the past, the Sentencing Advisory Panel suggests.

[...] Under option one, the panel says: “The most severe sentence for a standard offence of theft from a shop would be a high-level community order, even where an offender may have failed to comply with such an order in the past. The only factors that could allow a custodial sentence to be imposed would be the existence of identified aggravating factors.”

This is known in finance as a "free option" -- there is now to be no downside to attempted shoplifting. So here's the drill. First, steal the stuff. Repeat until you get caught; you will then be sentenced to community service. Don't serve it. Return to step 1.

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