WRITER Paul Weaire seems to misunderstand me (Writer neglected to research arguments, Craven Herald letters, October 19).

When I refer to the liberal elite I mean not those actually in government but those not in power but having an influence nevertheless. The Civil Service members who thwart the government whenever they can if what needs to be done doesn't match their ideologies and the various quangos and other public bodies with agendas that do not match with what the country believes them to be there for.

Perhaps Mr Weaire is right about non sequiturs with my leap from the start of the letter to crime and punishment at the end, but I was merely making the point that they are quick to vilify leaving the EU as a catastrophic failure even though it is still in its infancy but there has not been a peep out of them for almost 40 years about the failure of our punishment system.

As for political rants, quasi or otherwise, I think all political parties these days are as bad as each other and all of the major problems facing this country have existed for many years and are not just the fault of the current Government. Strange how the various parties only come up with the answers to solve all these problems when they are out of office and not in a position to sort it.

But back to the crime and punishment, and no Mr Weaire I wont be researching facts and figures just speaking with 30 years of dealing with criminals. Well maybe one statistic: apparently 12 per cent of people who are currently enjoying doing time at His Majesty's pleasure are people who shouldn't even be in this country which is one reason why our prisons are full.

But here's a theory as to why our prisons are now bursting at the seams. When this liberal attitude to punishing crime came about many years ago with the idea that criminals were but victims of society, everything possible was done to keep then out of prison.

So unless you started your criminal career in a big way with murder or rape there was little chance of you seeing the inside of a cell with a slop bucket. Every non-custodial route was gone down from writing letters of apology to victims, through formal warnings, cautions, community service, suspended sentences and other non-custodial options till someone was finally put in prison.

I have dealt with people who have had 50 or more previous convictions before they have been carted off to prison wondering if what was said about what happened in the showers was true. I have been in prisons where the living conditions were far better than what a lot of these criminals had at home. No deterrent there then.

So maybe after all the years of trying to keep all these people out of prison hoping they will be good, they have unfortunately found the system to their liking and become career criminals.

Now, all the non-custodial options are running out and the judiciary are reluctantly having to put more people inside, hence the overcrowding. I suppose we could always forget building more houses and build more prisons instead - it will empty out some housing stock filling up the new prisons - and of course there is a big work force available, better to be outdoors contributing to society by building prisons than being bored stiff in a cell for hours every day at the taxpayers expense.

Paul Morley

Long Preston