Clause 224 - Duty to release prisoners
Criminal Justice Bill
Mr Graham Allen (Nottingham North, Labour)
I continue the campaign for honest sentencing. Subsection (3)(a) seems to contradict itself. In defining ''the requisite custodial period'', the provision says that
''in relation to a person serving a sentence of imprisonment for a term of twelve months or more'',
that means one half of his sentence. Rather than stating that there will be a 12-month sentence and then that the person will serve only six months, why are we not honest? Why do we not say that they will serve six months? If the other six months were served under the licence provisions, people would not say that those sentenced to 12 months were being let out after six, but would instead realise that they had served their sentence, that they would be constrained under licence for a further six months, and that if they broke its conditions they would go back into custody. Then we would genuinely have custody plus rather than imprisonment minus.
We all agree that that is the right way to proceed but the public perceive that we are somehow letting people out early. Instead, we should impose onerous constraints on such people once they have served an appropriate sentence. I think that we would all agree that, in those circumstances, that should honestly and actually be six months.