I'm not a great fan of the concept of prisons as a punishment.
Basically all they are are very expensive training grounds for criminals.
I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. Not quite the "eye for an eye" method or some of the barbaric methods used by the likes of the Taliban, but I think a more imaginative approach is feasible.
Take for example our dear friend Paul Kiely.
For those of you out of the loop of Irish news, Paul Kiely was the CEO of the Central Remedial Clinic. That clinic is a highly respected institution involved in the rehabilitation of people with severe injuries. It relies heavily on public donations such as collections outside churches, tin-rattlers in the streets and the like. People usually are generous, as it's a good cause.
Dear mister Kiely however considers himself worth more than the charitable organisation he headed and on retiring, he walked away with a nice little package of three quarters of a million. Yes – €750,000 out of the funds donated by the cash-strapped public.
Our illustrious leaders are now throwing their hands up in horror at this and screaming that "something must be done". Well, they are in a position to do something but I ain't holding my breath.
If the unbelievable happens and Kiely is brought to court what happens then? A prison sentence? And what good would that do? It would just cost the state more cash to keep him there.
What would I do?
Firstly I would force him to make a charitable donation of €750,000 to the CRC.
Then I would smash his legs so he became a patient in the clinic.
Maybe then he would appreciate where the public donations should be going?