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Justice Questions: Short-term custodial sentences

The announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice to undertake an evidence-based review of the benefit of custodial sentences of less than 6 months is to be welcomed.

The evidence points to fact that sending people to prison for a short-term custodial sentence acts as a college of crime. People who enter prison for minor offences may develop substance abuse problems, exacerbate mental health issues and connect them with hardened criminals.

I want to see a sensible sentencing policy put in place. One that takes into account the individual, their record on repeat offending and the risks they pose to communities. Prison will only work if it is used against people correctly. It fails when it trains a new generation of criminals who put our safety at risk.