Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Prison Population

The British prison population could rise substantially peaking at just under 91,000 in 2011 according to a Home Office statistical bulletin. The effects of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 have yet to be felt or measured on the prison population. Reports are now circulating that senior Judges will state that reductions on prison sentences should be made of up to 15% to stop prison population going out of control.

I am not convinced that reducing the prison sentence that newly convicted defendants get by 15% is really the answer to the prison population problem. This really is a strange way for the government to advance it's criminal justice policies, particularly as they seem to be suggesting that they are 'hard on crime'.

A while ago the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, tried to initiate a movement along the same lines as is being suggested today. The prison population was at breaking point and arrangements had been made for prisoners to be held in Police Stations. He said that not all burglars should be sent to prison. That never went down well when I tactfully put that suggestion forward when mitigating for Clients at Court.

1 comment:

Another Constable said...

I'm obviously as thick as a whale omelette because I just don't get the prison population crisis.

There appears to be one overwhelmingly simple solution. Build more prisons!

If the only factor stopping that simple solution is money, I'm sure if the government went to the electorate and said "Can you all please pay £n extra in your annual tax bill in order that we can PUT CRIMINALS IN JAIL" then I'm sure the answer would be a resounding "Hell Yes!" and there would be a glut of available money.