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Put Victims First – Breaking the Cycle of Crime


Reviewed for Bohemia Village Voice by Nick Pryde, January 2014.

Put Victims First - by Andrew Marshall

Put Victims First – by Andrew Marshall

Put Victims First – Breaking The Cycle Of Crime. By Andrew Marshall. 176 pages, published by the author,

Andrew Marshall, the author, is very unhappy over the state of our criminal justice system and has strong, often controversial views which he offers up in this book, proposing a radical overhaul of the current system. He has worked for the National Probation Service for nine years both as a volunteer Prisoner Mentor and latterly a Community Payback Supervisor. He has dealt with many offenders in this time and can thus be deemed to have an inside perspective on criminals and criminal behaviour.

At the core of the book is the term Victim Centered Thinking, comprising three core principles: 1. Everything we do must protect the victims. 2. Everything we do must make for fewer victims, not more. 3. Everything we do must be paid for by the offender, not the victims or the taxpayer. All further proposals are then tested against these three principles.

He argues that all crime is an act of choice, not circumstance. For example, being poor is not the reason people commit crime, because only a small minority of poor people commit crime. Similarly some rich people choose to commit crime. He uses this kind of logic in most of the arguments, logic which is difficult to deny, it is all very persuasive.

For me, his central proposal is the abolition of all prison sentences of up to five years, replacing them with much shorter sentences to be served in solitary confinement. The thinking behind this is to prevent first-time offenders from becoming repeat offenders because prisons are often schools for crime where repeat offenders encourage and coach first-time offenders into a life of crime.  First-time offenders would receive a ‘short sharp shock’ of up to 30 days solitary confinement, in order to make them think about their future, without the corrosive influence of hardened, repeat offenders, thus helping to break the cycle of crime.

Also proposed are separate institutions for sex offenders and the option for life sentence prisoners to elect voluntary assisted suicide, with thoughtful logic equally applied. In addition he examines issues of  religion, morality and forgiveness. He knows his views are controversial, and they are indeed, but I have no doubt that he has a genuine desire for a fairer system, a system which better protects the victim and their rights. The book would certainly be of interest to anyone who is concerned about improvements to the current system, which is just about everyone.



Andrew Marshal in interview speaks of his conclusions reached after nine years in the UK National Probation Service.


  1. The solitary confinment, was tried years ago during. the 19th century Victorian era. it never had a god record of success, and produced, more mental illness. amongst prisoners.

  2. Some very good points but beware of the moral dictim “The end does not justify the means” (in final paragraph above) but shorter snap punishments would certainly alleviate the British exchequer too

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