Monday, July 7, 2008
Judges are being urged not to send burglars and petty thieves to jail.
The Sentencing Advisory Panel – which influences how criminals should be dealt with – reckons many should be handed community sentences instead.
It suggests unpaid work or a curfew would be a better punishment.
(Article continues below)
It also insisted that while the law does not allow the court to take the feelings of victims or bereaved relatives into account when they demand a harsh sentence, judges may listen to them if they are calling for leniency.
The panel published its consultation paper as part of a wide-ranging review of sentencing.
It aims to create an “overall ranking of offences” according to seriousness.
The document said: “The panel has concluded that a presumption in favour of a community order is most likely to be appropriate in relation to the less serious offences of theft and dishonesty, burglary and motoring offences, where there may be clear advantages in requiring an offender to serve a sentence in the community.”
The risk of an offender committing further, non-serious offences should not automatically lead to jail, the paper went on.