Prison sentences of less than six months should be abolished, says minister

Prison sentences of lower than six months must be abolished in England and Wales as a result of they’re much less efficient at chopping reoffending than group penalties, jail minister Rory Stewart has advised. 

Talking to the Daily Telegraph, the politician mentioned the transfer would ease strain on prisons whereas criticising brief jail phrases for being “lengthy sufficient to wreck you and never lengthy sufficient to heal you”.

In response to official figures. the jail inhabitants has doubled in England and Wales because the early 1990s, ballooning from 40,000 to greater than 80,000 in 2018.


Nearly two-thirds of prisoners launched after sentences of lower than 12 months reoffend inside a 12 months.

Mr Stewart believes a better emphasis must be positioned on rehabilitation, slightly than punishment, for non-violent crimes. 

“You carry someone in for 3 or 4 weeks, they lose their home, their job, their household, their status,” he mentioned.

”They arrive (into jail), they meet plenty of attention-grabbing characters (to place it politely) and then you definitely whap them on to the streets once more.”

The minister added: “The general public are safer if we’ve got an excellent group sentence … and it’ll relieve plenty of strain on prisons.”

The proposed jail reform, which might require new laws, would see round 30,000 criminals, together with burglars and most shoplifters spared jail, the Telegraph stories. Mr Stewart mentioned exceptions could be made for violent or intercourse offenders.

The Ministry Of Justice cited analysis that indicated “brief sentences are too usually ineffective, present little alternative to rehabilitate offenders and result in unacceptably excessive charges of reoffending.”

In Scotland judges are already guided by a authorized presumption in opposition to sentences of lower than six months. The coverage is predicted to be prolonged to 12 months after re-offending charges dropped to their lowest ranges for practically 20 years.


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The Jail Reform Belief applauded Mr Stewart for “having the political braveness to begin the controversy”.

A spokesperson for the charity instructed The Unbiased: “We very a lot welcome the strikes to chop sentences. That is in step with proof that exhibits group sentences are more practical at decreasing reoffending.” 

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