Ogmore Member of Parliament Chris Elmore has called on the Justice Secretary to review the use of short prison sentences in a bid to reduce the number of women recalled into custody.
The rate of women being recalled to prison following release has risen sharply in recent years following government reforms in 2014 which extended recall powers to include detainees serving shorter custodial sentences. The number of women being recalled has more than doubled since the Offender Rehabilitation Act was introduced by the Conservative Government in 2014.
Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on the issue, Chris Elmore called on ministers to accept the recommendations of the Prison Reform Trust’s Broken Trust report and move past the “lock them up, throw away the key and crime will reduce” attitude to reducing non-violent crime.
Following the debate, Chris Elmore MP said:
“It’s clear that shorter prison sentences aren’t working. They’re not providing justice for the victims of crime and they are certainly not helping to rehabilitate perpetrators.
“I’m not calling for a watering-down of our justice system. When people commit a crime, they should face the consequences of their actions.
“We must, however, look at new ways of rehabilitating offenders because the action the government has taken in the past few years is moving us backwards, not forwards. This helps nobody.”
The Ogmore MP underlined that moving away from shorter sentences while investing in rehabilitation services specific to the needs of female offenders could actually save the government money in the longer term.
Justice Secretary, David Gauke MP, mooted a move towards reducing short prison sentences prior to the debate last week.
Chris Elmore MP added:
“I welcome the Secretary of State’s warm words on this issue – it’s essential that his rhetoric is met with real action and isn’t simply a good news story in amongst the ongoing chaos over Brexit.”