We need to lock more people up
“Prison Works” said Michael Howard. He is a QC, so he must know what he’s talking about, right? No. Wrong. People who are sentenced to sentences in the community are less likely to offend than those getting a short prison sentence.
Says who, you lily-livered liberal?
Those notorious communists in the Ministry of Justice, that’s who.
They did a study looking at the data of re-offending rates between 2008 and 2011 and found that those who get a non-immediate custodial sentence commit fewer offences after sentencing that those who are locked up.
But surely locking up people cuts crime?
Well. The MoJ asked the following questions (with answers below):
Q : Are ‘court orders’ more / less effective at reducing re-offending than short term custody (prison sentences of less than 12 months)?
A : The one year re-offending rate was higher for those sentenced to short term custody than for those given ‘court orders’ overall (around 4 percentage points), community orders (around 3 percentage points) and suspended sentence orders (around 7 percentage points)
Also, the one year average frequency of re-offending per person was also higher for those sentenced to short term custody than those given court orders (by slightly under 1 re-offence on average)
This gap narrows, but is not extinguished and is still statistically significant, over time.
Q : Are there any specific requirements that are particularly effective, in terms of reducingre-offending? What is the impact of multiple requirements on re-offending?
In relation to Community Orders, adding requirements reduced recidivism rates. The data is not clear as to exactly which requirements are best. It does show that multiple requirements are more effective.
A similar, but less significant, effect is seen with suspended sentences.
There is a nice table that shows all this on page 23.
Does this account for the fact that those who get a non-custodial sentence are less likely to have previous, so it’s more likely to be a one off?
Yes, it does. Have a look at Part 3.
Yeah, but I don’t like facts, I prefer my gut instinct – I know prison works – take that science!
Welcome to the House of Commons, and government policy making in general – you’ll fit in well.