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Thursday, 1 March 2007

Crime & Time - (b) 1Mar2007

At the London Synods, in an aim to keep costs to the wider church as economical as possible, I often lodge at a small monastery near to Church House, which is close, about a third of the price elsewhere, and - er- quiet.

It is our practise to keep the Greater Silence until after breakfast each day.
...is the usual rule. Augmented by the cheery message written on the white-board greeting us this time that:
Synod Members will know that as it is Lent, we will be keeping silence throughout the monastery.
So listening to the radio in the mornings feels a little bit naughty. And this mornings news had something about Victim Statements being read out in court. A number of people, whose family members had been murdered, had been allowed the chance to have a written statement read out - after the verdict, and before sentence was passed, spoke movingly of how helpful this had been. The right-ness of this practise was being explored in the radio broadcast.

Well hardly an hour later, in the chamber of the Synod, a mother was again powerfully giving testimony of the effect it had had on her family to be able to have a witness statement read out at the trial after the murder of her own son.

One could not have choreographed the two more closely, if it ad even been possible to think about planning it.

The motion being debated was about the prison side of our criminal justice system; and a presentation was made by the Director General of the Prison Service. The motion, added to, and amended, was primarily trying to seek to make the best use of the prison system for those within it, and to try and find alternative ways of dealing with offenders, rather than simply incarcerating them. Again a high-quality debate, with a number of significant speeches from people with considerable professional expertise.

Alastair GS101

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