27/03/2012

Tougher Community Sentences Proposed

Ministers are to reveal plans for tougher community sentences for offenders in England and Wales.

Approximately 170,000 people a year are given community sentences but ministers argue that they are too lenient. New proposals include wider use of tagging with GPS tracking and intensive punishment orders including curfews and travel bans.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have said that trials show community sentences are cheaper and cut re-offending.

However, probation union Napo said tougher sentences may see more offenders fail to meet their requirements.

The MoJ said its aim wasn’t necessarily to reduce the numbers in prisons, but the new community sentences could allow courts to impose fewer sentences of less than 12 months, which are often thought to do more harm than good.

"We are overhauling community sentences to ensure they are tough, credible and robust," Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke will say in a statement later.

"Criminals must be punished for their crimes, they must pay back to communities and victims for their crimes and they must be reformed.

"If we can get criminals to return to a law-abiding way of life, we stop them committing more crime against more victims."

(H)


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