CJA comments on government sentencing proposals

Following the announcement of the sentencing proposals this morning from Robert Buckland, Secretary of State for Justice, Nina Champion, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, said:

“There is no evidence that longer prison sentences deter people from committing crimes or make our communities safer. Instead they increase overcrowding and violence in prisons, destroying the opportunity for rehabilitation and putting additional pressure on a prison system already at breaking point.  

“There are some promising proposals nestled within the government’s white paper, such as problem-solving courts and the use of community sentences, which reduce crime more effectively than short prison sentences. However, curfews and monitoring must be proportionate, with the government focusing its resources on tackling the root causes of offending.

“We welcome the government’s plans to reduce the amount of time during which some people will have to disclose a criminal record to an employer. However, the exclusions based on offence type reduce the impact of these proposals, preventing a large number of people from getting into work, which would reduce crime and lead to a safer society.

“It is encouraging to hear mention of increasing the use of Out of Court Disposals, for example by offering restorative justice as a remedy for low level crimes. This is a positive way to divert more people from our criminal justice system. The proposed reforms to remand for children are also promising, but should apply to adults as well, to reduce the numbers in prison who have not been convicted of an offence.”

If you’d like to contribute to our response to the white paper, please email amal.ali@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk.