Today's award goes (yet again) to the British legal system, in particular the idiots who inflicted this on British taxpayers.
Lifelong criminal Mark Hook, who caused a political furore when he was sent on safari in his teens to steer him away from a life of crime has been jailed for committing his 112th offence.
Two decades on, it has clearly not worked.
. . .
Before Thursday he had made 32 court appearances over the last 20 years comprising 111 offences, 43 of which were thefts.
His latest brush with the law involved him mugging a woman shopper last September and handling credit cards stolen from another woman, and at aged 35 the fear is that there’s plenty still to come.
Jailed for 18 months, though having served nine on remand he will be free again soon, his appearance at Gloucester Crown Court had an air of familiarity about it.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said: ... “You have an appalling record. You are a perpetual villain.”
. . .
If the authorities had had their way, it would never have turned out like this. In 1993, aged 17 but already transgressing the law, Gloucestershire County Council sent him to Bryn Melyn, a North Wales therapy centre for troubled youths.
The principal, Brendan McNutt, had not long before hit upon the idea of taking persistent offenders out of their criminal environment and abroad; where they would not know the culture, money or geography; where they could build a relationship with their guide and crucially, where they would be unable to run away.
Funded by the money the centre was receiving from social services, Hook went on an 88-day visit to Egypt and Kenya to visit places where people were worse off than him.
Whatever the immediate outcome was meant to be, it did not work. Hook began offending again as soon as he returned, continuing on an almost non-stop crime spree which has never stopped.
A descendant of Private Henry Hook, the Rorke’s Drift VC hero of the Zulu Wars, Hook is not the only youngster to be sent abroad, but is certainly the most notorious.
When word got out about his safari, it caused such a national outcry that John Major, then Prime Minister, put an end to such foreign trips.
His Home Secretary Michael Howard, accused the authorities of having “more money than sense” whilst Virginia Bottomley, then Health Secretary, waded in, saying that “children involved in wrongdoing should not feel rewarded for their actions”.
At the time Gloucester County Council argued that the £7,000 bill for Hook’s safari was good value compared with the £1,800 a week it would have cost him to stay put at Bryn Melyn, the rehabilitation centre in North Wales that organised the trip, and scarcely more expensive than the £500-a-week bill for putting him in ordinary custody.
By 1999 they had changed their mind, saying that “persistent young offenders who attracted media interest in the early 1990s are now in their late teens or early 20s. Some have continued to commit crime and have received custodial sentences. It is unfortunate that we have to acknowledge that some young offenders are unable or unwilling to change”.
There's more at the link.
What can one say, except "Your tax dollars at work!"