Examination of Witnesses
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill
John Thornhill: I think magistrates would say, “Well, look, give us a bigger toolbox, with a wider range of tools that we can use in specific circumstances.” We are looking towards individualised sentencing. Of course, with every offence and every offender, there cannot be an individual sentence specific to their needs, but if we have a wider range of tools available we can begin to do that more constructively than we can at the moment.
We have discussed restorative justice in detail. We have visited Northern Ireland and spoken to the Restorative Justice Council, and we would like consideration to be given to restorative justice being added to one of the specific requirements that we could include in a community sentence, again to be used in specific circumstances with specific offenders.