Reoffenders: Sentencing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Jonathan Lord Jonathan Lord Conservative, Woking

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to review sentencing policy for prolific offenders.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Protecting the public will always be our priority. One of the first acts by this Prime Minister was to order an urgent review of sentencing. The focus of the review has been on the sentencing for the most serious violent and sexual offenders and the rules governing when and how those offenders are released. As part of the review, we have also considered changes to sentencing for prolific offenders which could help break the cycle of reoffending.

Based on the findings of the review, we will be bringing forward proposals shortly for a comprehensive package of legislative reform. This will include amending the automatic release point for the most serious sexual and violent offenders (where the offence carries a maximum life sentence) from the half-way point to two thirds of the sentence.

As part of this package of reform, we also plan to bring forward proposals for community penalties that offer an appropriate level of punishment, while tackling the underlying drivers of offending. We know that prolific offenders generally have multiple and complex needs which are linked to their offending behaviour, in particular drugs, alcohol and mental health needs. If we are to break the cycle of reoffending, solutions will often lie in community sentences, including those which address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, or provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community. On 1 October we announced that we would be introducing Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirements (AAMR) across England and Wales, starting in 2020.

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