Sentence Adjournments, Sentencing Reforms & Prisoner Release
Sentencing reforms are once again a hot topic. Recently the prison population has risen to a record number of 88,225, a significant increase on the previous week and only around 500 places short of “operational capacity”, which is the maximum number of prisoners that can be held.
Andrea Albutt, president of the Prison Governor’s Association, said: “If the government further overcrowd our prisons, if they say to our members’ you will put more people in your already overcrowded prison’, we will take legal action.”
Such comments make it unlikely that the government will try and force prison governors to take prisoners in excess of operational capacity.
The government had planned for an extra 20,000 prison places, but beset by planning law difficulties and other obstacles, so far, only around 5,500 of those places have been delivered.
On 16th October the Lord Chancellor made a statement to parliament and announced a number of reforms, including;
- Doubling of the number of GPS tags available to the courts to help them manage offenders in the community and extending early release on home detention curfew for certain prisoners.
- Stepping up work to remove thousands of foreign prisoners by deporting them earlier and agreeing more transfer agreements with other countries
- Legislating to allow prisoners to be held in overseas prisons
This followed a request from the Senior Presiding Judge for sentencing hearings for people on bail at risk of receiving a custodial sentence to be adjourned.
In response, a spokesperson for the Centre for Women’s Justice said:
“It is extremely worrying to hear that sentencing decisions for serious sexual offenders may be affected by a lack of resource in the prison estate. […] victims are already being badly let down by a justice system plagued by under-resourcing: lack of police resource to investigate their cases, backlogs in the courts meaning lengthy trial delays – this is another concern to add to that list.”
As a firm, we are closely monitoring developments, and once the government announces its final plans, we will be able to offer tailored advice to our clients.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com. Let us help.
Image credit: by Tim Pearce, Los Gatos is marked with CC BY 2.0.