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Sentencing Bill (2023)

This bill is one of three pieces of legislation announced in the King’s Speech focused on criminal justice. Over the last three decades there has been no shortage of legislative and policy change to ensure that more people spend longer in prison.

Several of the measures contained within this bill continue that trend. This includes expanding the use of controversial whole life orders; and extending the special custodial sentence for offenders of particular concern (SOPC) to include a range of serious sexual offences.

However, this bill does include some sensible measures which address the reality of the current crisis facing the prison system. This includes a presumption to suspend short sentences of 12 months or less and an expansion in the eligibility criteria for Home Detention Curfew.