Episode 4 Free Speech

Episode 4

Live current affairs debate from Nottingham's old courthouse, where topics include crime and punishment. Defence minister Anna Soubry MP and comedian Ava Vidal are on the panel.

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Hello and welcome to Free Speech, the show which makes your voice


heard in the national conversation. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE


I am a fairly honourable... And welcome to Free Speech. We live from


the old in Nottingham. That is the ladies and gentlemen of the jury


giving us their verdict, we want to hear what you think. Just tell Tina


Daheley. Standing up! Good evening to all of you. We want to hear from


you at home tonight. Submit your evidence online. Your answers and


comments will come to me in the studio, where I will make sure they


are heard in the debate. There is also our audience questions page and


tonight we are taking it to the next level. I think you know how it


works. For the past week you have been going to Free Speech on


Facebook, clicking through to the audience questions page and looking


through the questions that have been submitted by you at home. Here are


the top questions before we went live. Tonight, we are doing things a


bit differently in order to give you a bigger chance to vote for what you


want to talk about. We are keeping the leaderboard open for another


half an hour, until 8:30pm. What do you want to talk about? Here are the


options. Should male circumcision be illegal? Like female circumcision,


more commonly known as female genital mutilation. Should there be


stricter punishments for rape? Do high tuition fees and internships


mean younger generations are being treated as slaves, and should


politics be taught as a core subject? Set the agenda. Live


audience voting. Anything Strictly can do, we can do better. Here to


debate your questions is our panel. Archie Bland, senior writer at the


Independent. Ava Vidal, a stand-up comedian. Peter Hitchens, the Mail


On Sunday columnist and author of crime, history. And Anna Soubry, a


former criminal barrister who became the first female defence minister in


2013. That is your panel. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE


Since 2012, the government has worked to make the justice system


tougher. Is it pandering to the tabloids, or necessary tough love?


This week, Free Speech spoke to former prisoner Daniel Chapman about


his experience. How would I describe prison? As an asylum. Prison works.


It ensures that we are protected from murderers, muggers and rapists.


I grew up in Stockwell in south-west London. My family were poor. By the


time I was 16, I had acquired a gun and I was selling drugs for about


two years. My whole lifestyle, she could not take it any more and that


is when my mum phoned the police. We need to tackle this problem in a


concerted way. Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. I got


a three-year custodial sentence. I was very numb until the door closed


and I knew I could not move. I was in for about five months and got


into a fight, they stabbed me with a pen. I was moved to Belmarsh when I


was 18. Some of the worst things I saw in prison, they would mix hot


water with sugar and throw it in your face. Meltdown razors and put


it in a toothbrush and slash your face. I have banned sky TV, banned


18 certificate DVDs. You wanted tougher justice system. We are


delivering a tough -- tougher justice system. The facilities may


not be tough, but psychologically it is the worst thing. I did not think


I would make it university, I did not think I was smart enough. I am a


university now. Studying graphic design. I think it needs to go back


to what it was made for in the first place, rehabilitation. All these


people who say it is not tough enough have not been. How can they


comment? Soap, Daniel's question is does


prison need to be tougher? Ava, you were a prison guard. Does prison


need to be tougher? No, it is tough enough. At the end of the day


everybody who speaks about prison being a holiday camp, everyone who


talks like that has never been. I fire went to a holiday camp like


that I would ask for a refund and compensation. It is not good in


there. Peter, do you agree? Prison is tough in the wrong way. They are


largely by the inmates rather than by authority and they have no


purpose. The government does not really want to have prisons. It only


keeps prisons because the public. Have them. It does not believe in


punishment. As a result, they are warehouses in which people are very


vulnerable to what other prisoners want to do to them. The main


punishment inflicted on people in prison is inflicted not by the state


or the law, but by the other inmates. That is wrong. If they were


properly disciplined and run punitively for the original purpose,


they would be much safer for the prisoners and much more likely to


stop people from committing crime. They are very hard to get into. It


is much harder to get into prison than university. You have to


commit... LAUGHTER


. People are already habitual criminals by the time they reach


prison. Ava? To say the government do not want prisons is untrue.


APPLAUSE In the UK, we are moving closer to


the American system, the prison industrial complex, where big


businesses are using inmates to do a lot of work. The prison I worked in


which I cannot name, and I will not name the airline, but they used to


get the inmates to put the little bikes together, the stuff you get on


a flight, socks, earplugs, things like that, so to say people do not


want prisons and the government don't want it, with the draconian


measures that Chris Grayling is bringing in... ? I too have been to


prison. When I was a criminal barrister are used to represent


defendants far more than I prosecuted. We are just about


getting to a stage where we are getting things in the right place.


Every prison is different. Some prisons are really quite good.


Others not so good. I take the view that if you go to prison, you go for


a good reason. Prison is a punishment. I don't subscribe to the


view it as a holiday camp. It is a deprivation of your liberty. It is a


punishment and it is meant to be a punishment. But it should also be a


place where people are rehabilitated. Some people go to


prison because they need to be there to keep the rest of us safe. You


were not in that category, you did half your sentence, 18 months? If I


may say, you are somebody who has completely turned their life around


and one of the best thing that ever happened to me was when I bump into


an old client who I have not seen for a long time because they tended


to be more heat than she, and prison had worked for them. If people do go


to prison, it sounds perverse, but it is a positive experience for that


human being, so when they come out they do not reoffend and turn their


lives around like you have. Daniel. You have been to prison, did it work


for you or did you turn your life around despite working -- despite


going to prison? Prison did not work for me. From the second I went in,


it made my life worse. It dehumanised me. Do you say you


should not have gone to prison? Now you are who you are, what would you


have done with you at that age? Would you have not gone to prison?


What would you have done? There should have been intervention. There


are personal cases you can relate to, you can't just talk about my


situation. You need to intervene with the personal situation. Debut


in general think people who deal in drugs and carry firearms ought to


have something done to them by the criminal justice system? -- don't


you think. not necessarily, no. To have people from different


circumstances pointing and saying...


APPLAUSE . How are our circumstances


different to yours? How many people in terrible circumstances never


carry drugs and deal -- never carry guns and deal drugs? You must not


make excuses for crime. OK. We are going to the audience now. Do you


think you are talking about rehabilitation, what do you think,


what kind of rehabilitation are you providing for the prisoner inside,


like education? Because most of the time the education is poor quality.


They don't get a good qualification. There is only functional schemes. It


depends when you go. Some people get good education in prisons and young


offenders' institution is as well. The longer the sentence, the more


opportunity people have to study. I would have clients of mine who could


complete their education. Forgive me. I am sure nobody is saying that


nobody should ever go to prison, or are you? You would send a rapist to


prison, or a paedophile. Inaudible. They should have been sent to


prison, guilty of fraud. It was said in the House of Lords. They have


joined the Cabinet. Criminal justice in this country, it targets people


from certain backgrounds at the end of the day. If you have the money to


get a really good lawyer, if you have education, the amount of people


in prison who would hand me a application forms who could not read


or write. That is absolutely unacceptable. If you have a longer


sentence, you have more time to be educated. So send more educated


people to prison. People do. There is a more consistent legal system


that punishes people across the board for what they do. UN


muddying, excuses... It was 20.8 months, four white groups, 14.9


months. APPLAUSE


So send more white people to prison. Fine by me. OK. It is impossible to


follow when everyone talks at the same time, isn't it? Let's stop


doing that. For people at home, let's bring it back to conditions in


prisons. That is what people are talking about online. Prison is like


a holiday camp, prison is seen as hell in other countries. Yes,


prisons need to be tougher, they are like holiday camps. They are in


there for reason, not a holiday. How would you respond? I understand why


-- where they are getting the fact it is like a holiday camp. They are


dangerous places, you have to be paranoid the whole time. There is


loads of stuff going on. It is ridiculous to say it is like a


holiday camp. What holiday camp do you go to? Nobody has said they are


like holiday camps. The viewing audience have said that. Whether


prison is tough enough, I don't think it is. We are talking in the


wrong terms. There is an endless drive towards making prison tougher


in terms of for example banning parcels being received in prison,


making conditions more unpleasant, peripheral stuff that doesn't


matter. The way that prisons should become tougher is they should become


more useful places that educate people. The fact is, I read a piece


last year about Feltham prison, a lot of people said the trouble was


that education is all very well but there is not enough of it. People


are banged up for many hours and that drive them crazy. If you are in


a cell all the time, you are more likely to be violent. The only way


to fix that is resources. Whatever you say, it is the thing that


government has to put more money into it. If you don't change the way


it works, you can't fix anything else.


APPLAUSE The gentleman here? On a lot of


government reforms harm the way people are rehabilitated, taking


away books. They are not allowed to take parcels in from the outside. We


said because we have a problem with drugs and mobile phones going into


prisons, so we changed the rules on parcels. People can still get books


in prison. There are libraries in prison. We all know what is


happening with austerity measures - loads of public libraries are being


closed. Therefore prison libraries are being closed. No-one is thinking


about prison officers. No-one is thinking these are the people who


have to look after these people. Have a guy in a cell who is boiling


rage. You open that door and you could get hot water with sugar in


your face because they are going mad. Prison officers do not want


prisoners not to have television and stuff. If you know the amount of


prison officers who are off with stress, how many take drugs. How


many take drugs into prison? A lot are through prison officers. At the


prison I worked at, they were coming in through pigeons. It is a weird


story. We were in the exercise yard. There were dead prison officer gones


there. We were like, this is OK, it is biblical. A prison officer kicked


one over and people scooped the outside of p pigeon out.


To ban books is ridiculous. It tells you everything you need to know,


that drugs which are available are available in prison readily all the


time. I know you like to applaud fashionable of statements - but the


prisons are not under the authority conoh -- control of the authorities.


Read the report into the prison, which at night was said by the


prison officer to be under the control of gangs. You will see what


goes on. We do not have and we do not, as the Government does not


seek, proper control of prisons. It is easier for them to allow drugs


in. It keeps people constitute pified. There's -- stupified. If you


go to Nottingham prison, everybody knows if you go to Nottingham,


there'll be a sniffer dog there. You get pat-down searches and so on and


so forth. For visitors, it was almost impossible to get anything


through. It was coming in in other ways. Yes, there were inventive


ways. I The idea that Government wants to keep -- the idea that


Government wants to keep people on drugs in prison is nonsense. Why


don't they stop it happening then? They've had a long time to stop


it... There are local prisons, there are category C prison, there are


dispersal prisons - there is a huge difference.


The lady here. You have been patience. The situation in different


prisons is different F there is such a variety in the levels of education


people get in prisons - what is the Government doing about it? I don't


think it is right that the prison which the chief inspector of prisons


said is the worst he's seen ever in his time as chief inspectors, in


Wolverhampton is a young offenders' institution. Why are your most


vulnerable people not getting the provision they need? Understandably,


if you are sent to prison, you would want to go to a prison which is near


to where your family is. The trouble is then you often get gangs going


into a particular problem. You do get some scary people - I am sure


you would agree and extremely bad people in prisons. Having to deal


with it is very difficult. One of the things I agree about, it was


about seen when people were banged up for 23 hours without any break -


that is wrong. We have introduced work - forgive me - I think it is


good, that people when in prison get used to working.


ALL SPEAK AT ONCE I must say it is very different to


what you heard Chris Grayling say. There was a story about him over a


project which was supposed to investigate the incidents of rape in


prison, actually suggested he would like to ban the provision of condoms


in prisons. If that is true, it is being reported on Politics Today -


it is a pretty reliable report - this is the prisons minister who has


no connection to the reality of life in prison and would rather say


something to get an easy headline rather than do something which would


fundamental change the outcomes of people coming out of prison. It is


about making people safer. That is a common theme across the


board. We need to be thinking about the individual. Circumstances


dictates emotions. I myself went to prison. Going to prison, in a sense


ironically changed my life. I allowed it to. The only reason I was


able to do that was I was inspired by some particular individuals.


There is not enough investment in those individuals who want to help


offenders change. APPLAUSE


When people talk about prison being a holiday camp - I am talking from


the perspective of somebody who went to prison. I could not care less


about having a TV - I was concerned about losing my family family... .


When he says, we'll ban SkyTV... You have stuff taken from you. Now what


we are saying is if you want stuff you have to earn it with good


behaviour. I have no problem with it. What I do - what is wrong - you


are right, Sir. It is the deprivation of your liberty and the


other guy talks about people going into prison and doing great work.


Who inspired you? Was it another inmate? We are talking about books


which are being banned from prison. I read a book about an individual -


a gang leader in America, who was sentenced to life and become a Nobel


Peace Prize winner. His book inspired me. It opened my eyes T way


he transsended from being a gang --. The way he turned into this was


through literature. We are not taking books away. When people make


mistakes they have the ability to turn around. I made mistakes. If I


told you my story and what I am doing - if you met me five years ago


I would not have believed I would have been the person I am today. I


am living proof, he is living proof that you can change. Let me ask you


this - would you agree with what Peter said about prison being run by


inmates? It is nonsense. A governor runs the prison. That is end of.


Each prison is different, based on the governor's intention. That is


how it is run. Yes, it is tough. It is tough for both entities. You have


prison officers who exist in the system. They are there as long as


the prisoners themselves. We are human beings at the end of the day.


ALL SPEAK AT ONCE If anybody other than me said it...


Who are prisoners afraid of in prison? The officers? No. They are


afraid of... ALL SPEAK AT ONCE


That is not necessarily true. Don't say it is not true. When you have


worked in one? I have not worked in one. Let him answer Peter's


question. Prison officers are scared of offenders. I witnessed for


myself, yeah - I witnessed a prisoner thrash his cell and flood


his cell. He got taken away. Now, his cellmate came back after a visit


and he was being forced to enter a cell which had been flooded, burnt


out and thrashed. He said, how can you put me in this and where are my


belongs. They said you have to go in the cell. Refused. I witnessed him


get his face punched in by aofficer. Don't sit there and tell me they are


intimidated... I agree with you. The lady here. Why do people come out of


prison with like psychological health problems. If they were not


tough they would come out all right. Prison rates are incredible high.


This idea of prisons being finishing schools - that is what happens you


might go in doing something minor and then you come out and spend your


time with other criminals. It does not necessarily help matters. It is


not true. 78% of young offenders offend. Daniel is the exception, not


the rule. In the category Bmale prison - 52% turnover where people


came back. What I am saying is I find it a little bit dodgy that


people who own big businesses, who have access to the Government and


lobby, then have work contracts in prison it is in their interest to


have people sent to prison. APPLAUSE


OK, we will move on from this debate now. The next question from our


studio audience. What do you want to ask? I would like to ask, following


several murderous acts in several years over which can be described as


evil, for instance the murder of Lee Rigby, should the death penalty be


reinstated? What do you think? I am torn on the subject, really. I


think. It is quite evocative language. Yeah, but I think it


should definitely be stricter punishments for murders which are


random, because it makes people feel not safe. Whereas, yeah, it's a very


definite punishment - the death penalty. The most definite. By


treating somebody who is doing something bad doing something bad


back it is just evilness. It will not get better you kill somebody who


kills somebody. It will never get better that way. I don't agree with


the death penalty. If you impose it on people, then when it comes to


trials, people will not plead guilty. It will drag victims of


crime through the system it is not fair on the victims. Anyone here who


does agree with the death penalty? Yes, the lady here. I agree that the


death penalty should be warranted in cases where the act has been thought


about for a long time beforehand, so it is premeditated. They have


thought about the way they would go about it and they've had a very long


#250i78 to decide whether it is -- time to decide whether it is right


or wrong. Why should the taxpayer have to pay to put, so, say the


murderers of Lee Rigby, there is no question of doubt they murdered him.


Why should we then have them in jail and have to pay for them to remain


in jail for that period of time? I don't believe that you should


murder, you know, you should have the death penalty - this question of


doubt. There's no question of doubt that they killed him. Why should we


have to pay for them? And there's no doubt. How would you respond? The


death penalty is pretty expensive, so in the state... It is because the


reason for that - the reason for that is that capital trials are


very, very expensive. They drag on longer. People end up on Death Row


for a long time. You have appeal stages. It is more expensive. Even


if it was not the case - even if it was the cheapest way, I don't think


it is a question of that. It is a question of whether we want to give


the state the right and the ability to execute citizens. I don't believe


that we should. There's that matter of principal. There is the fact that


it doesn't really work. There is basically no evidence from anywhere


in the world that you can actually show that the death penalty makes it


less likely that people will kill each other. If you don't know it is


working and you know you might execute people who didn't do it. In


the US you have three or four people released from Death Row. If you know


all that, how you can believe that it is a sensible option...




Yes, I think it should be brought back. Some people applauding. Do any


of you want to listen to opinions? Do you just have the views of people


that you think you ought to have? Have you ever thought about it? I


used to be against it, now I am for it. I have thought about it. R First


of all, there is substantial evidence that it deters one very


important thing, it deters - it's in the criminal statistics... Well, if




If you wait for me to finish my sentence - there is good evidence -


it deters the use of weapons by criminals.


And the death penalty in this country was suspended for two


periods while Parliament thought of getting rid of it in 1948 and 1957.


During both those suspensions the incidents of armed crime went up. At


the end of the suspensions it went down. There is in the United States


that prevents stranger murder. That is where somebody kills the witness


to his crime. Don't interrupt me! The person kills the person he has


raped or kills the person he has robbed. That kind of crime has


increased substantially in the United States since the death


penalty was abolished. You will hear how it operates in the United States


- it doesn't really. It exists as a political fixtion. It is not


actually carried out. We have the death penalty in this country - it


is carried out by the police. They shoot people without any kind of


appeal. The more you don't have a death penalty with due process, the


more you have of that. 60 prisoners a year, on average n the prisons of


England and Wales kill themselves. That is also, as far as I am


concerned a death penalty. I disapprove of long prison sentences.


I think they destroy people's souls. I would rather have a just, swift


execution of a when nows murder than keeping someone in prison that their


soul was destroyed and they took their own lives.


Would anyone agree with Peter? That is such a stupid comment. How


can you applaud that? It is very true. What about the person who has


been murdered? What about the souls of the families who have lost


someone? What about them? Where does that come into the argument? I


support a charity, it is soul destroying for the person who has


taken a family member away by stabbing them 80 times out of cold


blood and you were worried about their well-being in prison. You


don't understand what I am saying. I believe in hanging heinous


murderers. I think they should be hanged by the neck until dead. I


think you may have misunderstood entirely what I said. It is really


difficult, it is difficult when you hear about Lee Rigby. I sat with a


mother, whose son, some of you may remember this story, it was a


terrible murder that occurred in the north of this city and her son was


in the passenger seat and somebody came along and thought that her son


was somebody else and shot him in the back of the head and he was


dead, obviously. She had to go through the court process and she


then had, when he was convicted of murder and received a long sentence,


she had him then turned to her and said, you should have seen what your


son's had looked like when I shot him, and I had to sit with this


woman and explain to her white I do not support the death penalty. When


you hear her raw emotion, she says, I will continue to work, I will pay


my taxes, he will come out of prison in his early 40s will stop my son


meant -- never made his 21st birthday. That is very moving. Even


with that awful emotion I just believe, even though that is the


most wicked thing, like the ream -- like the Lee Rigby murder, I still


think of the society you are judged by the way you treat even the people


who do the most wicked things and that is why I would never believe in


the death penalty. APPLAUSE


When the population is polled about who is in favour of the death


penalty, 58% of young people are in favour of the death penalty and 59%


of people who are older. People are reactionary, people don't think it's


through properly. I am sad to say Peter did make a good point. He


mentioned the fact that police officers have been shooting people


without due process. There is Rodney and Mark Duggan, you have to think


about cases like that. On the other hand, there should not base date


sanctioned murder because too often it goes wrong. You only have to read


a book called the exonerated and people who are the victims, who end


up getting the best -- the death penalty are poor people and


minorities. It is not right. What is happening online? A lot of people


are disagreeing with the death penalty. Going against the


statistics in that poll. Some would agree, the death penalty can not be


brought back soon enough. We need to crack down on criminals, they


deserve punishment. This has come in from Michelle. The death penalty


should never be reinstated. How can anybody have the power to take


somebody's life? It is not your life. You cannot bring back an


innocent life after they have been killed. What if a convicted murderer


was proved innocent? There are several points. The first is this.


Every three years, two people in this country are murdered by a


convicted murderer who has been released. They are innocent people


who died as a result of the failure of the criminal justice system. That


is not seen as an argument for never releasing the victim of a murderer.


An awful lot of people so that -- supported the military intervention


in Serbia, in which bombs were dropped on Belgrade and innocent


people died. All of us support the transport policy, which requires


because of mass car ownership, the deaths of 3000 people every year. We


licensed the deaths of 180,000 innocent babies through abortion. If


you are really -- if you really think that no policy can be pursued


if anybody innocent is going to die as a result of it, I would take that


from a complete pacifist who believed it is all right to have the


country invaded by a foreign power and not resist. If you believe that,


you can lay aside the weapon of capital punishment. But otherwise


you don't have a coherent argument. Politicians advanced this argument


because they are afraid of responsibility. They don't like the


responsibility of having to protect the public from savage people. That


is why Parliament, there has never been at any point a chance for the


public to vote on this. Nobody ever stood at a general election and said


we will abolish the death penalty. It was done by a private member's


bill. Politicians decided amongst themselves they would abolish it


because they did not like the responsibility. People with mental


health problems, all too often we are looking people who have got


mental health problems. We need to think about that, because sometimes


you see people in prison, we keep mentioning Lee Rigby's murderers,


psychologically they could not be sound. Peter thinks we are


disagreeing with him to be fashionable, but if you are


constantly unfashionable, move with the times. The important thing to


say about Lee Rigby, is the death penalty enough to make them suffer


enough for what they did? Probably not. Do we want to have them


tortured before they die? Do we want to have a series of unpleasant


processes? If you make your criminal justice system simply about exactly


what people deserve, you can never do enough. That is not the way to


think about it. Justice is not about revenge. OK. It is time to see what


you guys at home have chosen on the leaderboard. We have closed the


voting. Here is the leaderboard. The top question is from Emily. She asks


should male circumcision be made illegal, like female circumcision?


Should male circumcision be made illegal? Peter? No. One of the


reasons for the confusion about this is the word circumcision has been


used to describe the horrendous operation known as female genital


mutilation, which is not circumcision. It is absolutely...


Absolutely right. It should never be used. Week asked whether the


questioner should keep that language. They said yes. You would


not use racist language. It is not female circumcision. You should


never use it. It is the most appalling assault on women, to take


away... We said FGM, when we set it out at the beginning, we need to


phrase questions the way people ask them. That is hate speech, illegal.


Your viewer used the term, it confuses people. Male circumcision


is a different thing. I personally would not want to circumcise any


child of mine. In my own childhood, it was a very medically fashionable


thing to do. It was done to a lot of people in my generation. Everybody


here knows also that it is a religious requirement for Jews and


Muslims, pretty much, arising from a passage in Genesis which both faiths


refer to. For them it is a very important sign of the faith. If you


start talking about making it illegal, you are possibly using it


as an excuse to say unpleasant things about a religious minority,


which one should be careful of. My answer is, no, it would provide huge


difficulties, conscientious difficulties for Jews and Muslims.


It would be almost certainly unenforceable and would take away


the possibility of doing something about female genital mutilation.


Anna? I am cross because we know that people in the past have used


language which is wrong and as we mature we grow up as a society, we


get rid of it. To call it female circumcision by people who supported


it, to try and give it some sort of credit, when in fact it is the most


appalling assault, both psychologically and physically. It


is done in order to take away that young child's's future enjoyment of


sexual intercourse. That is why it is done. It has terrible scarring,


literally physical scarring and mentally scarring. I am really


pleased when I was a minister in health, we really tried to get on


top of this and we are trying to bring prosecutions. In stark


contrast to male circumcision, which is often a medical thing done for


good medical reasons, it is practised by some religions, it is


totally different to female genital mutilation. Let's get that clear.


APPLAUSE A gentleman disagrees? We have to


make a distinction. Male circumcision is not objectively


wrong. Consenting adults, infants who require it, it is permissible,


but to systematically laments circumcision among infants for


purely religious regions -- reasons this barbaric. It is... In a secular


country we should not allow religion... This is off the top of


his head. Domain the genitalia... Week get the idea. I am not an


expert in male circumcision but I don't think it is done, what happens


with female genital mutilation, that is the most appalling thing, to take


away a woman's enjoyment of sexual intercourse. They are totally


separate. I don't think, I am not Jewish or a Muslim, there must be


people in this audience who can tell us why it is done, but it is not


done to prohibit somebody in their sexuality. In fact it does. I agree


with everything that Peter and Anna said and it is a problem to put them


in the same space because you appear to be treating them with equivalent


seriousness. FGM is a huge, barbaric problem. Male circumcision is a


different thing. Having said that, you should not make male


circumcision illegal. There should be more space within Islam and the


Jewish community for gesturing whether or not these have to be an


essential part of their religion. Would I want my child to be


circumcised? Absolutely not. I would not do it to an adult, therefore I


would not do it to a child. I have done work with daughters of Eve, who


campaign against FGM, they are brilliant ladies, and I spoke to


them about it because having a child and speaking about male circumcision


and what they have said is even though it is not the same they


personally don't think it should happen to males or females. A lot of


people are desensitised to the issue because it is in our culture. The


fact is, what sane person looks at a newborn baby and thinks, what a


bundle of joy, pass me a knife, let me slice of the fork skin. You are


making faces, why do you find... -- the foreskin. For some young babies


it is a medical procedure. Men in this room have been circumcised, you


are getting worried, sir, but seriously, some people circumcised


because you need to be circumcised because you have problem with your


foreskin. How would you respond to these people online, who are sharing


their stories. I am circumcised and hated. I have my whole choice to an


intact body removed at birth, say no to circumcision. I am angry because


part of my body was removed without consent. My parents did nothing to


protect me. This from Ray, I was circumcised as a child and it caused


the numerous problems. It should not have been legal to do that to me


without my permission. How do you respond? There is no expert on


circumcision. I consider myself an expert. I was circumcised. I don't


suffer from any psychological harm, because a lot of people circumcised


when they are babies and it is a voluntary act. If you take away the


responsibility from the parents, you should also take away the


responsibility to send them to school, to do this and that. Saved


my life, maybe, it saved my life, because I could have got AIDS or


HIV, maybe other things that people could get, so why do people think


this is... It isn't medically inconclusive whether there are


benefits. You make your point very powerfully. And very movingly. You


plainly believe it very strongly. I think what you have said deserves


very much to be heard and considered by everybody and makes me think when


I hear it and would make anyone think when they hear it. You need to


listen to those particularly in the Jewish and Muslim faiths who might


argue the opposite to you, with equal passion, and with equal


conviction, that they are right. Under those circumstances, is it


possible in a free society to make a law of the kind which you require?


There is too much disagreement. Also too much danger of what might turn


out to be covert religious persecution for that to happen. You


may say if we argue about this long enough that among Jews and Muslims


living in our society there will come about a movement against it and


that might not be a terribly bad thing. But I do not think that


banning it by law would achieve that or bring it forward. You should


consider there is more to this than what you have said. OK. A lot to


think about. We will go to the final question. Should there be stricter


punishments for rape? Let's start with you. It share shares certain


car ris ticks that it is kind of the wrong question. Only 3% of rapists,


or rape cases end newspaper a successful prosecution. How can we


bring that number up? I think rape case, certainly there is a very - it


is very clear, rape is rape. There is no distinction between different


types of rape as far as the action goes. With any crime it is possible


to distinguish, with mitigating factors and I think we have a legal


system that deals with that successfully. The part it does not


deal with, is actually getting rapists prosecuted successfully and


having them sent to prison. APPLAUSE


The gentleman up here. Your main point there was only 3% of rape


accusations end up with somebody being successfully prosecutes and


that should go up. Maybe the other side is that perhaps there's some


evidence of good work there that there are a lot of false


allegations. There is no evidence there is a higher number of false


accusations... I am not saying a higher number. To blanketly go - we


need to increase this, it should be higher is leading to people being


accused more. If you think we should reduce the success of all


prosecution events to 3%... If you are saying that rape is this special


case where... I am not making a case for a special case. You kind of are.


There is another argument, there is a low prosecution rate... As far as


punishment goes there - if someone is accused of rape, at the moment -


their name can be made public. The accuser's name can't. That person's


reputation - they could lose their job. They could lose a family, and


they may not have done anything. It is very odd that you don't...


Nobody makes these arguments about any other crime apart from rape. I


think that is odd. Rape is often the most difficult case to prosecute.


When the issue is consent, so you have two people - it tends to be a


man and woman, who are known to each other - it is not denied that sexual


intercourse took place, but the issue is consent. They are very


difficult to prosecute. The maximum sentence for life is -- for rape is


life. In my experience, judges get it right. If you are convicted of


rape after trial, you could expect to go away for at least five years.


At least five years. And then, as many people in here will know from


their experiences, there will be certain circumstances where it is


higher and higher. My experience, judges get rape and they know how to


sentence and they dish out, quite rightly, tough sentences. It is one


of the most serious, appalling crimes which can be committed. I do


realise obviously that rape is very hard to convict, but, you know,


surely 3%, that is not really high... I thought it was higher than


that. That is not very high. Surely there should be stricter laws,


considering it is one of the worst crime to commit, because you don't


give consent to give sexual intercourse. Repeat offender, if


they are not caught in time, it will be worse. Surely the Government


should be able to clamp down on the laws to make it harder for people


not to get away with it and put them behind bars. I think nobody is


arguing about the horrible nature of rape or the need to punish convicted


rapists. What seems to be behind this is a willingness to set aside


the greatest protection that our liberty has - which is the


presumption of innocence. No-one can put you in prison in this country


until they have proved, to the satisfaction of a jury, that you


have done what you are accused of. It is very difficult to do that in


the case of rape, because it is often the case of one person's word


against another. Some of you will have sat on juries. All of you


probably will. When we aagreed to send somebody to


prison and ruin his life forever, then you have to think very hard


about whether and what you believe. How you can get rid... I would pay


almost any price to preserve jury trial on the presumption of


innocence, because they are the absolute, solid bedrock of the


liberty. More valuable than democracy, more valuable than


anything else in keeping the state too powerful. It may be you one day


who is more easily convicted as a result. Then you'll know what it


means. You are blaming the victim there. You are the person that is


installing rape culture into this country. The reason there is such a


small amount of people that are convicted is because people don't


report it because of rape culture. There needs to be a change in the


attitude of people. Poor people who are convicted of rape - how their


lives are ruined. Forget about that - the victim has to live with that


for the rest of their life. Yet, you are saying the person who has done


it - oh, they will go for prison for five years - that is so hard for


them to do. There is a footballer who has been convicted of raping a


19-year-old girl. Do yacht name him, please. -- do not name him, please.


He heed a so many people go, he his life has been ruined because he's


raped this girl. We will move away from specifics. It does not proved


right... This is one of the most sexist countries because of the


crucial sexism. It is disgraceful. We need to look at preventative


causes of rape and look at the breakdown of the family and fathers


not being around and the way that people treat women. Men in society


and that needs to go back to the family unit being re-established and


being important and being supported by the Government. The lady with the


blue hair. Before I got interrupted, basically people are terrified of


coming forward when they have been raped. We need to get rid of that


for people to be convicted properly. Because, well, who on earth would


want to go through being asked how much you have drunk, what you were


wearing, what you were doing when it has nothing to do with it whatever.


APPLAUSE I absolutely promise you, you do not


get asked those questions now. I have someone I know who has been


asked that. It used to be the case that there were people who would be


asked, what were you wearing? Somebody drink plays a part, if you


are saying you cannot remember this, that or the other. The idea that you


would be asked what you were wearing. This was a year ago and she


was asked about that. I will happily talk to you about that. Judges and


barristers do not ask those questions. You are right. I would


put that into the mix. Just stop and think about it, for somebody to go


forward and to make an allegation of rape, how likely is it that they


would actually make that up when they know what will happen when they


do have to go to court and have to relive it? And the idea that people


make up rape is absolute nonsense. They do get anonymity. The other


important thing to say, is however well judges, lawyers and police


officers behave, we talked about the idea of rape culture - there is real


truth oh to that. It is ultimately juries who decide. It is right it is


vital to preserve the primacy of jury trials and treat them with the


seriousness they deserve. But, if you have a culture in which rape is


constantly questioned in a way that we really don't question people who


claim any other crime has been committed against them. We don't say


if you are walking down the street and mugged, well you should not have


had money in your pocket! We say on the other hand, you still hear


people about wearing short skirts as somehow a contributory factor. Can


we bring in views of people at home. Oliver says:


Interesting. I just think, you know, as ar chi


said it is very -- Archie said it is a very emotive question. Sometimes


people rape several times. Because rape victims feel ashamed. Sometimes


when somebody else has come forward it allows others to come forward. If


we look at cases of child abuse. There is almost safety in numbers.


It is a hard balance to strike. The lady here. People are, people don't


come forward because the sentence is not long enough. Life is not life.


Life is, OK, so I'll be good in prison and they'll let me out.


That person has to live with that for the rest of their lives. Like, I


am not talking from experience, but the rapist gets to walk free. You


feel punishment should be stricter. When you get life, you are given the


license of 99 years. You can be recalled to prison absolutely any


time. If you are seen with the wrong


person. People don't understand that when they say life not being life. I


disagree. They should not be let out because they are in prison for a


reason. I am not sure it works like that. I don't think people make the


decision about whether or not to report a crime based on the length


of a sentence that the person will get. What they... I am not saying


they don't care about it massively. It is a contributing factor though.


They want the person to be caught and found guilty. If they do not


think there is a pros eblingt pect -- pross pect of that, that is the


thing that -- prospect of that, that is what persuades them. We are


talking about such a sensitive subject. There are so many factors


to consider. The point the lady with the blue hair made - why should


victims be asked such personal questions? The defending barrister


has to make sure that beyond reasonable doubt a case has been


proven. If the questions are not asked, how can we rely on the


judgment made at the end. It is difficult from every angle. We, as a


society, have to work out how to make this better for the victims and


better for the judicial system. 3%, quite frankly, is not good enough.


Absolutely right. That is unfortunately all we have time for.


We'll be off air now until the autumn. We are. Thank you for all


your comments and tweets. We hope nothing contentious happens in the


next few months. See you in September. Good night.


Are you sure you want to know what this is all about?


I want my daughter. What are you going to do, start shooting people?


Live current affairs debate from Nottingham's old courthouse, where topics under discussion include crime and punishment. Defence minister Anna Soubry MP and comedian Ava Vidal are among those on the panel.

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