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<b>Monday 8 December:</b> American prisons are a bad idea, tower plans crumble and less than a third have voted

Published on December 8th 2008.

TITAN AMERICAN-STYLE PRISONS would be a mistake for the UK, according to a leading US civil rights lawyer. Professor Bryan Stevenson, of New York University is due to comment about the plans at a lecture to the Prison Reform Trust following the Ministry of Justice's plans for three US-style prisons in London, the West Midlands and the north west of England by 2014. Stevenson says the UK should learn from mistakes made in the US and pursue cost-effective, humane and responsible strategies that avoid mass incarceration.

THE NUMBER OF CCJs given to young professionals in the city appears to be increasing in the run up to Christmas. Lenders are taking thousands of under-30s to court for failing to repay debts. Analysts believe it could be because the generation suffering has never known an economic recession.

PLANS FOR PICCADILLY TOWER, Europe's tallest residential building, have been halted due to the fallen economy. £8m had been spent laying the foundations for the 58-storey structure before work was stopped. Instead, developers have applied to turn the site into a car park. Inacity chairman Wayne Mellor said: “We decided to put the project on ice because we also intend to build 430 apartments - and we realise that the purchasers for these are just not around at the moment.”

LESS THAN A THIRD of residents in Greater Manchester had returned their ballot forms for the congestion charge referendum by last Friday. The 30.37 per cent turnout is lower than expected at this stage. Voters are being urged to return their postal ballots before Thursday 11 December.

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HowardDecember 8th 2008.

Hi Neil, We don't have a system of needing a majority of eligible voters to pass stuff in this country. If only 3 people out of 3 million can be arsed to vote then the verdict can be carried by just 2 voters. The Australians have a mandatory system whereby it's illegal not to vote (though some of course don't) punishable by fines and ultimately imprisonment. I'm not advocating that, but I do advocate an approach to voting that recognises that less than a hundred years ago people died to get that right and people are still dying across the world to get it for others. Cherish your vote. Some don't get the opportunity.

NeilDecember 8th 2008.

What's the criteria for 'success' in the TIF poll? Does the yes vote have to get 50% of returned ballots or 50% of the electorate? Or is the onus on the no camp to get the votes? I'm sure I could look it up but I can't find the info anywhere

AnonymousDecember 8th 2008.

The low turnout sounds like gad news for the no campaign.

Spokesperson for the Acme Bike CorpDecember 8th 2008.

Neil,People in seven out of the ten boroughs have to vote "Yes" for the scheme to go ahead.

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