Archive for December 4th, 2010

Alternatives to jail will slash UK prison numbers

| 04/12/2010 | 10 Comments

(Daily Mail): Tens of thousands of criminals will be forced into full-time community work instead of being jailed. The work could range from ­repairing benches to filling holes in the road. The offenders will be made to wear tags and adhere to strict curfews while they complete their tasks. After months of bitter wrangling, the Coalition has finally agreed hugely ­controversial plans to slash the prison population by 3,000. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke will resist Lib Dem demands for all prison sentences of less than six months to be scrapped. But he will next week insist large numbers of criminals convicted of non-violent offences should be given ­community penalties instead. Mr Clarke will say they must begin the sentences within days of being sentenced by the courts, and complete full working days.

Currently offenders can carry out only a few hours of ‘punishment’ a week, which is tailored to their convenience. The sentencing review will also propose ending a defendant’s right to change a not guilty plea once a trial has begun. The move is designed to encourage earlier guilty pleas, thus saving the cost of trials.

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