The new Minister for Justice is off to a good start…
Tony has vetoed all his proposals, reports the Times:
In a memorandum to the Prime Minister dated April 20, the contents of which have been divulged to The Times, the Lord Chancellor set out proposals for revised sentencing guidelines, designed to produce a longer-term reduction in the number of offenders committed to custody.
— reducing the use of custody for persistent, low-grade offences and expanding the use of tougher community sentences;
— curbing the length of sentences for nonviolent offences such as theft and criminal damage;
— removing the option of a custodial sentence for shoplifting offences in cases where less than £200 worth of goods are stolen.
Lord Falconer also proposed curbing magistrates’ use of suspended sentences, which officials say result in too many low-grade offenders being sent to prison automatically for low-grade second offences.
The Prime Minister discussed the proposals with the Lord Chancellor two weeks ago, and is understood to have rejected them all.
Insiders say that he gave warning that the proposals would send the wrong signal about the Government’s attitude to low-level crime.
Yes of course! Sending out the right signal is much more important than not having enough prison places to put all the criminals.
The Prime Minister has also written to the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor urging them to press ahead with plans to introduce “prolific offender licences”, designed to tackle hardcore persistent offenders. Ministry of Justice officials gave warning that these could put up to 3,000 more offenders into custody over the next year. They say this would be “unsustainable”.
Never mind, Lord Falconer: Tony says he’s going soon, and Gordon might be more amenable.
Otherwise I’m sure you’d be thinking, “What was the bloody point of accepting this job?”
As the Septic Isle points out, Falconer is a former flatmate of Tony’s, and an unelected politician at that.