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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

December 29, 2008: Illegal Knives: Greater Punishments

Tougher, more intensive punishments for people who carry illegal knives were announced today by Justice Minister David Hanson MP, who outlined the government's position for 2009.

From 5 January, 2009, courts will be able to hand out tougher and more intensive penalties for everyone convicted of possession of a knife who are ordered by the courts to carry out community payback work such as picking up litter, renovating community centres, clearing undergrowth and cleaning up graffiti for local communities.

 Offenders sentenced to pay for their crimes within the community already have to work hard, wear high visibility orange jackets with the distinctive 'Community Payback' logo, give something back to their neighbourhoods and lose much of their free time. Justice Minister David Hanson said:

'We want to ensure knife crime offenders are treated with the seriousness they deserve. Where jail is the best option, I'll always make sure there are enough prison places and more people are now going to prison for knife-related crime.'

'But the government also wants to see tougher and more effective community based sentences for those the courts choose not to send to jail. Earlier this year I announced that anyone convicted of a knife-related offence and sentenced to the maximum 300 hours of community payback from the courts will complete their sentence in intensive blocks.'

'This is now being extended to include all knife crime offenders given any amount of community payback as part of their sentence. They will now have to do at least 18 hours of work a week, and potentially be subject to a curfew that keeps them off the streets in the evening and a probation appointment during the week on top of these hours. This means a significant loss of liberty and free time for all those unemployed knife offenders across the whole of England and Wales.'

The government is committed to tackling knife crime and has doubled the maximum sentence for possessing an illegal knife to four years in 2006, increased the use of stop and search, and raised the age at which you can be sold a knife to 18 in 2007.

Knife crime offenders may also have to do programmes or activities with their community payback work which are designed to reform their behaviour and so reduce the likelihood of reoffending. This might involve attendance on an offending behaviour group work programme or a course to improve prospects of employment. Offenders may also have to attend drug rehabilitation, which may involve more than three days of all their activities each week.

Last year there were 55,771 completions of community payback across England and Wales, providing over six million hours of free labour for communities. Recent statistics show that frequency of reoffending for community sentences have fallen sharply by 13%. The reoffending rate following a short custodial sentence is 59.7%. The reoffending rate following a community sentences is 37.9%.

A community sentence can be made up of one or more of the following 12 options: compulsory community payback, specified activity - such as a course to improve prospects of employment, supervision - daily or weekly meetings with a probation officer, an accredited programme to tackle issues such as anger management, prohibited activity, curfew, exclusion from a place, activity at an attendance centre, residence with an automatic curfew, mental health treatment, drug rehabilitation and alcohol treatment. Sentences are constructed to ensure the public's safety is paramount, the offender is duly punished, but they are also given the opportunity to rehabilitate and get help for the some of the root causes behind their offending.

The ten areas taking part in the Tackling Knives Action Programme are London, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, South Wales and Thames Valley.