YEP Says, February 12: Prolific burglar is an argument for throwing away key

Alex Owens.
Alex Owens.
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Convicts should only be released when officials are confident they won’t return to crime.

THE judge who jailed Alex Owens yesterday told the habitual burglar he fully expects him to be breaking into homes again as soon as he’s released.

It’s easy to see why. The 22-year-old burgled a house in Cross Gates just days after he was let out of prison following his last conviction, when he asked the court to take a further 39 offences into consideration.

Yesterday, he was once again back behind bars after being sentenced to another three years.

The question is, if officials are so sure he will reoffend, what does that say about the performance of the probation services?

And if they keep drawing a blank with an individual who has been committing burglaries since the age of 14, what is the point of letting him out of prison?

In Holland, a special law that allows habitual offenders to be sentenced to longer prison terms has lowered crime rates and saved a small fortune.

There is an argument that courts should go further and be prepared to impose indefinite sentences on individuals like Owens, with prisons only sanctioning their release when they are confident they won’t return to a life crime.

The trouble is that the current over-crowding problems in our prisons make this impossible. It’s why the Government should now be looking to build more jails to spare us from the trauma and expense caused by the likes of Owens breaking into our homes.

Heartbreak behind city war memorials

FOR anyone wishing to understand the scale of the First World War’s impact on Leeds, it’s worth making a visit to Lawnswood Cemetery.

Heartbreaking stories of loss and sacrifice lie behind the simple memorials there, a snapshot of the sorrow endured by the families of the thousands of men from the city who lost their lives.

As we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war, it’s important to realise these were sons, husbands, brothers and fathers – whose loss had a great impact on their loved ones and the city as a whole.

It’s a humbling experience that puts into perspective the trivialities of everyday life.

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