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Letter: Chain gang.

Byline: MICHAEL A POSNER

Dear Editor, - Once again it is rapidly coming up to that time of the year when our leaders on councils all over the Midlands start to whinge and whine about the high cost of running public services. As they wear their sackcloth and spread the ashes the plausible stories of why council tax will have to rise by umpteen times the rate of inflation once again become the mantra of local politics. Crocodile tears well up and roll down the battle-worn faces of our city fathers as they plead with the public to forgive them. It's not our fault, they cry. Blame Whitehall they urge. It's everyone else's fault but ours, they lament.

But there is an answer. Costs to the council tax payers can be cut. Easily. At a stroke. How? Bring in the prisoners. Create chain gangs. Open the prison gates and let the trusties out so that they can do something to make up for the cost of keeping them fed and watered at a cost for each one at around pounds 500 a week.

Councils complain they do not have money to clean the streets. They don't have the cash to tidy up eyesore areas that litter towns and cities. There is no-one to do the work. Rubbish! They might not have the cash but there is an inexhaustible supply of manpower lurking behind prison walls itching to get out and do their bit. Why not? It's about time society took a stand and made use of thousands of prisoners and put them to hard labour.

Fair enough, the chain gang mentality should not be taken as far as it is in the United States. Forget about prison officers being armed with high powered rifles to keep them in order. If needs be don't bother with chains. But you must admit the Americans have got the right idea. Put the wrongdoer to work. MICHAEL A POSNER Stafford
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 29, 2005
Words:325
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