Victoria Haigh has finally met a consequence. It may be the first time in her life that she’s actually been held accountable for her actions, and consequently, she might find it a puzzling experience. On December 18, 2011 Judge Peter Kelson sentenced Haigh to 3 years in prison – with the comment that it was a ‘completely unrealistic hope’ that she would comply with any court order.
The former race-horse trainer mounted a false smear campaign against her ex husband as a pedophile, including a petition at her daughter’s school naming him as a “pedophile father.”
Haigh also coached her daughter to accuse the innocent man, had previously broken non contact orders, as well as committing assaults on her ex husband. She also enlisted a white knight in the person of the Earl of Huntington, William Edward Robin Hood Hastings-Bass. Yes, that’s really his name. Hastings-Bass wrote a letter to the court on Haigh’s behalf, stating that her fabrication of a history of sex abuse by the father was “totally out of character.”
Judge Kelson criticized the Earl, saying: ‘He is gravely misguided about [Heigh’s] attitude to the British justice system. It could not be more disrespectful.’
This disrespect for the courts, however, is appropriate. In fact, it is a disrespect shared by a substantial fraction of women in a society in which the justice system does not hold them accountable.
Calls for the complete closure of women’s prisons in England have met with widespread support, based on a bizarre idea that female offenders should be protected from consequence, and thus, their families should not suffer. Aside from the suffering of their unchecked criminal behavior, obviously.
Although women have traditionally received lighter sentences than men for criminal offences – this was apparently not enough, and a growing movement calls for the elimination of prison for women altogether. Proponents of this movement advocate a focus on counselling, subsidized housing and education as alternatives. According to a report from a group calling themselves the Women’s Justice Taskforce: Women should not be sent to prison and should instead serve community sentences.
The Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Stephen Otter, a member of the Prison Reform Trust which led the taskforce, said the case for keeping women out of prison was “very compelling.”
“There’s very clear evidence that this works for women but it also works for their family,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“Two-thirds of women sentenced to less than 12 months in jail are re-convicted within a year of their release,” he added, with no apparent irony.
In this social climate, why would women feel anything but contempt for a justice system which continues to demonstrate a deep commitment to enabling their criminality?
Opponents of this school of thought argue that a continued failure to hold women accountable as responsible adults will produce two parallel outcomes. The first is a society in which females experience no pressure to mature into adults, and consequently remain permanent children through their lifetimes. This is arguably an ongoing phenomenon with half a century of history of created human misery and damage. It’s escalation would follow the formal elimination of women’s prison as a consequence of criminal offense traditionally handled by incarceration.
A second and more dramatic consequence of increased non-accountability in criminal offence by women is predicted to be retributive violence. Human societies have always adapted to changes, and the current formalized system of redress of grievance through the courts provides a method removing the need for informal redress in more primitive societies. When there is no justice system, people have historically created their own. Resolution of dispute by direct violence is as old as the human race, and is, in the option of this article’s author, a considerably worse option than sexually equal human accountability in a court of law. Apparently, as a society, we may have to have to re-learn this the hard way.
However, the incarceration of Vicky Haigh appears to indicate we haven’t gone full-retard, just yet. That she’ll likely serve only a fraction of that time indicates the continued power of the pussy-pass. But looking on the bright side, being only 41 years old, when she walks free, she’ll still be young and energetic enough to kill somebody. So there’s always that to look forward to.