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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 30 October 2014, to Question 212152, how many people convicted of possession of (a) class A, (b) class B and (c) class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 were (i) cautioned, (ii) given a custodial sentence, (iii) fined, (iv) given a community resolution and (v) given some other form of discharge in each of the last five years.
Whilst crime is falling, sentences are getting more severe. Since 2010, offenders are more likely to go to prison, and for longer.
We believe that court will always be the right place for serious and contested cases, as well as persistent offenders. There is a range of sentences available to independent judges to impose on offenders found guilty of a crime. We are clear that prison will always be the right place for serious offenders. In addition, financial penalties play a vital role within the sentencing framework, however they must have real bite and must be enforced.
The Government is already legislating to restrict the use of cautions and has recently outlined proposals to go further and replace cautions in England and Wales, with a system of suspended prosecutions. The aim is to ensure that there are more direct consequences in future for committing even minor crimes. This new approach will empower victims and give them a say in how criminals are dealt with, as well as making it easier for officers to deal with more minor offences.
Details of the numbers of cautions issued by the police and the number of defendants found guilty and sentenced at all courts, with outcomes, for possession of class A, class B and class C drugs, in England and Wales, from 2009 to 2013 (latest available) can be viewed on the Ministry of Justice website at the available link:
Under Offence drop down list select:
1) Possession of a controlled drug class A
2) Possession of a controlled drug class B
3) Possession of a controlled drug class C