Rogue company directors

Rogue companies devise various ways of fleecing people by selling them commodities such  as wine, land or other things which are never going to see the promised temptingly large increase in value.  (It has to be said that their victims have often ignored the principle that ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is’.)  The government is reportedly planning to react in the traditional way, by imposing tougher sanctions. It is reported (the i, 19 April 2014, p. 12) that the government plans to force courts to order directors of such companies to compensate victims (in passing, where does this leave the independence of the judiciary?).  The implication is that this will mean prison sentences.  There is no evidence that this would reduce the number of such crimes (although an increased likelihood of being caught might do so);  locking them up in institutions where there is too little to do has little point, and actually reduces their ability to pay compensation to their victims.  But individual victims, where they are identifiable, should have the option of meeting the directors face to face to explain the harm caused – not only by financial fraud, but for example by pharmaceuticals that have knowingly been marketed despite inadequate test results, or unsafe working practices or premises.  For further reparation, there should also be the possibility of community service;  but this would mean more (and be more likely to be completed) if it were regarded as reparation and not as punishment.  Then offenders will be more likely to feel remorse, not for themselves, but for the harm they have caused to others.