The was a good example in the first leader of a recent Spectator. It began:
One of the many ludicrous Liberal Democrat policies which Tories enjoyed rubbishing during the general election was their plan to send far fewer criminals to prison. But, alas, it seems that some bad ideas are infectious. Last week Ken Clarke, the new Justice Secretary, suggested that we can no longer afford to keep so many prisoners — so we should sentence fewer, and for shorter periods
It may well cost £29,600 to keep someone in prison for a year. But we must set against this the fact that the average prisoner commits a remarkable 140 crimes per year before incarceration — and, according to the Home Office, the average crime costs £2,970. So out on the streets, the prisoners inflict £406,000 of damage (including the £30,500 cost of sentencing them in a crown court).