30/06/2010

Clarke To Stop 'Revolving Door Of Crime'

The Government's vision for criminal justice reform has been unveiled today by the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, in his first major speech.

The reforms will create a more intelligent, consistent and transparent system of sentencing, and introduce a rehabilitation revolution that engages the expertise of independent organisations and gives them financial incentives to reduce reoffending. In turn this will help to reduce crime, and make our communities safer and better places to live.

Nearly half of all offenders sent to prison are reconvicted within a year, and the rate of reoffending is even higher – 60% – for the 60,000 prisoners who serve short-term sentences each year, creating a revolving door of crime.

The Government will tackle this by looking in detail at the sentencing frameworks available, including the full range of penalties on offer.

Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke said: "I have three main priorities – to protect the public, punish offenders and provide access to justice.

"More than half of the crime in this country is committed by people who have been through the system. We must now take action and shut off this revolving door of crime and reoffending.

"We need a more constructive approach that tackles this head on. An intelligent and transparent approach to sentencing that targets the causes of reoffending, so making our communities safer and better places to live. We describe it as a Rehabilitation Revolution."

In particular proposals to restore public trust through minimum / maximum sentencing will be explored. Under this system, offenders would serve a minimum period in prison set as the minimum punishment by the judge in court, without being eligible for release. The judge would also set a maximum period, and offenders would have to earn any release before that point.

The Government’s key priority is to punish offenders effectively as well as protect the public. Whilst prison remains the necessary punishment for many offenders – and is the only place for those offenders deemed a risk to the public – it is vital that the opportunities offered by community sentences to effectively punish and reform offenders are examined alongside the role of prison.

The Justice Secretary added: "The most radical part of our new approach will involve paying independent organisations by results in reducing reoffending. And success would be measured - perhaps by whether the offender finds and keep a job, housing and so on; whether they become functioning members of society.

"But above all – by whether they are law abiding and avoid reoffending within the first few years of leaving prison."

(GK/BMCC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 December 2003
Prison Service accused of 'racial discrimination'
The Prison Service has been accused of racial discrimination, according to the findings of a Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) investigation published today. The CRE probe uncovered "evidence leading to the finding of unlawful racial discrimination" and also catalogues 14 areas of failure uncovered by the investigation.
09 May 2011
Home Detention Curfew Effect Examined
A report highlighting evidence that suggests offenders who receive Home Detention Curfew (HDC) under the current provision, are no more likely to engage in criminal behaviour when released from prison, when compared to offenders with similar characteristics, who are not eligible for HDC.
02 September 2004
Satellite tracking pilots to target 'prolific offenders'
Satellite tracking will keep close tabs on offenders in three areas of the country in a new development launched today. The pilots will take place in Greater Manchester, Hampshire and the West Midlands.
20 July 2012
Sex Offenders Lie Detector Scheme 'To Be Rolled Out'
Following a successful pilot scheme mandatory polygraph testing for sex offenders is set to be rolled out across England and Wales, ministers say. The scheme found offenders who were tested were more honest and gave better information, which meant they were managed more effectively.
02 March 2012
Three Jailed After Death Of Television Executive
Three people have been jailed today after television executive Gagandip Singh was attacked and killed in February last year. They include 20-year-old female medical student Mundhill Mundill Kaur Mahil of Gladstone Place, Brighton. She had been convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent and was given six years in a Youth Offenders Institute.