NEW Tory Justice Secretary Ken Clarke today announced radical proposals to ease Britain's overcrowded prison population.
He has invented a controversial new sport called 'Scum Hunting' which Government sources say could reduce annual prison turnover by as much as 30%.
Although the proposals are at an early stage, Clarke hopes they can be finalised by early Autumn – in time for the season.
“Prison has too often proved a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens,” Clarke told reporters this morning.
"My first priority is the safety of the British public but just banging up more and more people for longer without actively seeking to change them is what you would expect of Victorian England.
“My radical new idea should keep everyone happy. All our wonderful hunts will finally have a slightly more PC quarry than a fox, animal rights people will, by definition, have nothing to whinge about and our lucky inmate gets a stab at freedom, 'scuse the pun – and if he does escape, he'll likely not want to repeat the experience and our streets will be safer places for the 21st century. Everyone's a winner!”
In a depressingly familiar fashion, the Justice Secretary's Liberal colleagues have so far kept schtum on the subject.
Human rights campaigner Rita Chakra-Chakra-Chakra, has, however, expressed concern at the prospect of petty criminals being torn limb from limb by packs of bloodthirsty hounds over the British winter.
She said: “I'm concerned at the prospect of petty criminals being torn limb from limb by packs of bloodthirsty hounds over the British winter.”
Brushing these concerns aside, Justice campaigner William de Dalzeymale, a resident of Dorset, the safest and least crime-ridden constituency in the whole country, said: “Human rights are all well and good but look at the facts - the prison population in England and Wales reached a record high in May of 85,201 which is almost double the figure when Mr Clarke was last in charge of prisons in 1992 - an increase he will say he would have dismissed as "impossible and ridiculous" at the time. I would agree. Something has to be done.”
For no apparent reason London Mayor Boris Johnson also chimed in:. “By giving them (prisoners) the right range of sticks and carrots to make sure they don't commit crimes again we can all make London a better place.”