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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 17, 2007: Victims Want Punishment But Not Always Prison

Victims of non-violent crimes in the UK want offenders to be punished, but do not believe that prison is always the answer, according to new research.

An ICM survey for the Ministry of Justice of 1,085 victims of non-violent crime in the UK found that almost half (49%) placed punishment as the most important part of an offender's sentence, with reparation 'payback' second most important (43%) and 'rehabilitation' third (36%).  ICM surveyed 1,085 victims of non-violent crime between during 5 - 14 October 2007 and 999 victims aged between 18 and 65 years old during 31 October - 4 November 2007.

While punishment comes top, a further survey of victims found that 81% would prefer an offender to receive an effective sentence rather than a harsh one with nearly two thirds (63%) disagreeing that prison is always the best way to punish someone.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (94%) said the most important thing to them was that the offender did not do it again. This figure is higher than the last survey in 2006 (91%).

These findings support the view of eight in ten (81%) victims in the UK who would be in favour of community sentences if they prevent an offender from reoffending. And there is data to suggest they do; evidence has found that offenders who commenced a community sentence in the first quarter of 2004 had lower reoffending rates than predicted (50.5% vs 54.1% respectively see note 2).

58% of victims agreed that it would be harder for an offender to face up to their problems in the community than receiving a short-term prison sentence. Support for community sentences remains high across victims of various types of 'non-violent' crime, from pick-pocketing to house burglary.

Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister  Jack Straw said:

'Being a victim of crime is often a dreadful experience. This research suggests that when offenders receive rigorous effective community sentences it can go some way towards comforting victims. These community sentences, combining punishment and rehabilition, can be an effective way to reduce reoffending rates.'

Victim Support Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

'These findings confirm our long-held view that victims of crime are united in wanting offenders to stop. If the criminal justice system is to truly serve victims, we need to prioritise effective rehabilitation rather than using victims to justify harsh punishments that don't actually stop reoffending. We also need to balance this with effective punishment and public protection measures for cases which merit it.'

Between October 2005 and September 2006, over 117,000 community orders were commenced. Community orders are made up of one or more of 12 possible requirements. Requirements may be combined to produce an individual package for each offender. The requirements available for use within a community order are:

  • unpaid work activity (for instance, employment, training or education, counselling or mediation)
  • (accredited) programme (including those tacking anger management, internet sex offending, substance abuse and drink-driving)
  • prohibited activity (including being banned from entering pubs of licensed premises, being banned from contacting individuals, working with certain groups or living or staying in the same household as certain groups)
  • curfew (normally this is electronically monitored)
  • exclusion (for instance, from pubs, town centres, the vicinity of a victim's home or workplace from a shop)
  • residence (at an approved premise or private address)
  • mental health treatment
  • drug rehabilitation
  • alcohol treatment
  • supervison (attending regular appointments with a probation officer)
  • attendance centre (for adults aged 18 to 24 only)

 A community order can last for up to three years but individual requirements can be for different lengths. Offenders who fail to comply with their community order are breached and returned to court. The court can resentence the offender for the original offence and might impose a custodial sentence. Alternatively, the court can extend or add requirements and allow the community order to continue.