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16 March 2012

Briefing published ahead of Lords debate on sentencing

As the House of Lords turns its focus in committee to debating the sentencing section of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill, the Prison Reform Trust has published a briefing to assist peers in scrutinising the legislation.

The Ministry of Justice‘s Breaking the Cycle Green Paper presented a coherent programme of legislative reform to reduce unnecessary use of imprisonment and to reduce offending. Such reform is designed to make better use of scarce public funds and ameliorate the damaging effects of populist criminal justice legislation from the past two decades that has resulted in record numbers of people in prison and unacceptable reconviction rates.

The Bill contains many important features of the Green Paper. It has, however, lost a little of its clarity of purpose. We hope that the debates in the House of Lords will provide an opportunity to scrutinise the Bill in greater detail than was achieved in the House of Commons, enabling it to be strengthened to help create a fairer and more effective justice system. This briefing focuses on key clauses to Part 3 (Sentencing). Proposed amendments include women in the criminal justice system, restorative justice and reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Click here for a copy of the briefing.