The Ministry of Justice is in talks to end prisons sentences of less than six months.
It is the opinion of ministers that short term jail sentences aren’t effective at reducing the degree of reoffending and have argued that more community penalties should be put in place.
The new plans could free up thousands of prisons places as some 30,000* criminals, from burglars to shoplifters, would be spared jail time.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart told the Daily Telegraph, “The public are safer if we have a good community sentence… and it will relieve a lot of pressure on prisons”.
Mr Stewart understands that people could consider these proposals “soft justice” but when attention is drawn to the fact that almost two-thirds of prisoners released after sentences of 12 months or less re-offend, it could be argued that new thinking is required to combat this trend.
Peter Dawson, the director of The Prison Reform Trust, welcomed the proposals.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: “Short sentences are too often ineffective, provide little opportunity to rehabilitate offenders and lead to unacceptably high rates of reoffending.
“That’s why we are exploring potential alternatives, but this work in ongoing and we have reached no conclusions at this time.”
*report from the Daily Telegraph