The Advisory Council on the Penal System is currently reviewing the general structure and level of maximum sentences of imprisonment available to the courts; and, as I indicated in my speech in the debate on prisons on 18th March, the Home Office keeps under review the sentencing powers of the courts and the use made of them in relation to available penal resources.
Will my hon. Friend consider the experience of Holland, where all but the most serious offenders are treated within the community with the help of volunteers from the community and where the crime rate has not increased?
We shall certainly look at all the examples. As I have said, we are anxious to adopt the most appropriate forms of non-custodial sentence where those will give genuine benefits to the population.