Victims of dreadful crimes receive more compensation and sympathy than ever, and rightly so. But justice is not theirs to deliverRetribution is poor justice. It is the short cut to lynch law and mob rule. Lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the key has long been the default mode of British attitudes to crime, spectacularly on display today in the worrying case of the serial sex attacker John Worboys.
No one has any idea on what basis he has been released from an indeterminate sentence after serving longer than his allotted eight-year minimum. Police and victims claim he may have carried out 100 other attacks. But despite what appears to have been shambolic police handling, all this was known at the time. The judge made a public decision. At law, the convicted man was clearly eligible for parole, and his custody has been judged “no longer necessary for the protection of the public”.
Related: Why is John Worboys being released after less than 10 years?