A Smarter Approach to Sentencing sets out the government’s proposals to deliver on manifesto commitments to reform the sentencing and release framework in England and Wales. At the heart of this paper is the commitment by the Prime Minister to have a justice system that keeps people safe, as well as one which the public understand and have confidence in.
An effective criminal justice system is the basis of a free, fair and safe society. Sentencing plays a crucial role in that system – it is the means through which the public, victims, and offenders see justice being done. Our current sentencing and release framework is failing to give victims and the wider public the confidence they should have in our criminal justice system. Too often the time offenders spend in prison does not match the severity of the crime, with some of the most serious criminals being released after serving only half their sentence.
The government’s top priority is protecting the public; it is essential that we have a sentencing framework that delivers this and works effectively, which can only be achieved through taking a smarter approach and targeting specific cohorts of offenders. We will do this by:
- keeping dangerous offenders off the streets for longer to protect the public
- ensuring that punishment is appropriate for the crime committed
- working to tackle the many complex causes of offending
- providing the opportunity and support to reform for those who truly want to turn their backs on crime.
Our proposals to reform the sentencing and release framework complement the raft of initiatives we are taking forward as a government to fight crime and protect the public from its devastating consequences.
A Smarter Approach to Sentencing sets out our plans to achieve this through a combination of clear proposals for legislation which we will bring forward next year, as well as broader areas for reform.