How Much for a Life?

A girl of 16 becomes the innocent victim of gangland violence and dies. On the Today programme, a shrewd and well-informed youth worker suggests that the killers expect that, if caught, they would be released from prison in two or three years.

The youth worker says this in such a way as to suggest that she thinks this too. The presenter does not correct her.

As the law now stands, the killers can expect to serve 30 years or more in prison, the equivalent of a 60-year fixed sentence at current rates of remission.

Since the government has laid down that such lengthy sentences must be passed to punish and deter, why doesn’t it tell potential murderers before they kill people?

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens