Existing sentencing law and sentencing guidelines make mockery of the criminal justice system and allow dishonesty in the way custodial sentences are carried out. Hardly any criminals serve their full jail time as determined by the Courts. We want to put a stop to the often confusing, soft but mainly highly dishonest sentencing in our criminal justice system. 

What is the current dishonesty in the sentencing system?

Automatic release and serving only half of a custodial sentence or less

  • Many offenders are released halfway through their sentence or earlier on curfew which counts as prison time too.

  • Time spent on remand also further reduces the time served in prison. 

Recall to prison for 28 days

  • If released prisoners then re-offend or breach their licence conditions they are not necessarily returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.  Over 40% are given Fixed Term Recalls of just 28 days and let out again.  They can re-offend or breach their licence again and still only get another 28 days in prison as a consequence.

Temporary Release from Prison

  • Some “serving” prisoners are not actually in prison – they are ”Released on Temporary Licence” (ROTL).  This could be on resettlement licence at home with family, working or out of prison doing something else.  In May 2019 Government guidance on this release said that changes had been made and they had removed the “requirement for a prisoner on ROTL to spend at least one 24-hour period per week in prison.”

Shorter sentences for reoffending

  • Some offenders get a shorter sentence for committing the same offence again.  We believe they should get a longer sentence or at the very least the same sentence again unless it would be unjust in all the circumstances to do so. 90% of those polled agree.

Two-thirds point in the sentence - eligibility for release from jail for very serious criminals 

  • The Government said in late 2019 that they were scrapping automatic release. However, it has not been scrapped. The change of law (in force as of April 2020) on the automatic release from prison at the halfway point is only for some serious offenders (serious violent and sex offenders) and it still does not mean that they would serve their full sentence. The policy is merely moving the goalpost to two-thirds point at which such dangerous individuals are eligible to be released on licence. They should be behind bars until the end of their sentence as given by the Courts and be subject to Parole Board's final decision whether they are safe to be released. It's the least the public expect. 

 

Home Detention Curfew - a double whammy of dishonesty?

  • Around 37,000 prisoners a year are eligible to be released on Home Detention Curfew (HDC, tag), which allows them to be released for up to 4.5 months(135 days) before they are automatically released from prison at the halfway point. This further significantly reduces their time in prison, which is already pathetically short in most cases.

  • The Government put forward proposals on what we call 'early early release' to extend the release on tag for up to 6 months before the automatic release, however they have now dropped them after they faced backlash from many of their own MPs, many of whom we wrote directly and included our briefing.

  • Click on here or on our Briefings section in the Menu, which takes you to a downloadable and printable file on Home Detention Curfew. 

 

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