Kathy Gyngell, Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, continues her series blogging for the Daily Mail's Right Minds by looking at the effect of a liberal parenting attitude towards Facebook and other technology.
"Public faith in the criminal justice system has never been lower. This disillusion has been fuelled by the widespread perception that courts are too lenient, sentences too short, and prisons too lax.
The indignation of law-abiding citizens can only have been reinforced by reports that a growing number of prisoners are now using mobile technology to access social networking websites like Facebook - and then using them to taunt their victims.
In the last two years alone, almost 350 convicted offenders have been caught posting on Facebook, and this number is likely to represent only a fraction of the prisoners who have recently visited the site. Such activity is meant to be against prison regulations and makes a mockery of the very concept of jail, which is supposed to punish inmates by depriving them of some of the liberties that we enjoy on the outside.
But what is even worse is that prisoners are using this illicit access to the internet to bully, harass and threaten people on the outside. This sickening online behaviour helps to create a climate of fear and strengthens thugs’ belief in their own invincibility, even when they are behind bars.
Through this abuse of the internet, victims are punished all over again. They are denied the safety and reassurance that should come from locking up violent criminals. Moreover, the legal system is also undermined, for witnesses in forthcoming trials could be dissuaded from giving evidence.
If we had more rigorous, more secure prison regimes, then the incidences of cyber bullying from the inside would be radically reduced. After all, prisoners are not supposed to have any access to internet, except when they are attending educational classes in computer rooms, where the equipment is kept under lock and key. But the inmates get round these restrictions by using mobile phones, which are smuggled inside by visitors or by crooked guards. Some are also passed over the walls of jails.
To read the full article, visit the Mail Online's Right Minds Blog.