Short Sentences

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 13th November 2012.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 11:30 am, 13th November 2012

What steps he plans to take to reduce the number of offenders serving repeated short sentences.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We recognise that those sentenced to short custodial sentences have high reoffending rates and we are looking to see how best to deliver rehabilitation for this group. By the end of 2015 we intend to apply the payment-by-results approach right across our rehabilitation work with offenders, so that fewer of them, including those who have been sentenced to short terms, return to prison.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

One of the concerns in the wider community is that people get into a cycle of offending, prison and then reoffending. One problem is that the courts are so slow in processing their cases that they cannot be punished in time and be kept inside when they deserve imprisonment. What is the Minister going to do about reducing the time it takes the courts to process reoffenders, and what will he do, too, about extending their sentences?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are keen to see greater efficiencies throughout the criminal justice system, which will assist in addressing the problem my hon. Friend describes. The other issue, of course, is that those sentenced to very short terms—12 months or shorter—have very little assistance or intervention when their period of custodial imprisonment has ended. There is no period of licence, and we want to look at ways in which we can ensure that people in that group, who do offend at very high rates, receive the intervention they need to reduce their reoffending rates.