all credits: PressTV
originally published: 21st May 2011
Labor leader Ed Miliband has warned a decision by the British government to give convicts shorter prison sentences could lead to an unwanted increase in the number of victims. Miliband, who had earlier urged the removal of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke from office, hit out at the government for its penal and security policies that are designed to match spending cuts, programs with little consideration for their impact on the safety of the public.
Miliband’s remarks came after Clarke told state-run BB1’s Question Time that based on his sentencing proposals, criminals who make a guilty plea at the first chance after they are charged would be able to use the maximum possible “discount,” now increased from 33 percent to 50 percent of their prison term.
Downing Street has not confirmed that the coalition government would go ahead with Clarke’s proposals on early plea discounts, only saying ministers are “still listening” to critics.
In an article for The Independent , Miliband warned halving the jail sentences could backfire in society. “Halving sentences for violent criminals including rapists who plead guilty will do nothing to increase safety on our streets and it gives prison reform a bad name,” he said.
Miliband also said Clarke and Prime Minister David Cameron are woefully out of touch with the real world. “Their prison policy is based not on the need for reform or increased rehabilitation for offenders. It is based on the need to cut costs,” the Labor leader said.
“Their police policy isn’t based on what will make the streets safer, but how to quickly find a 20-percent cut in the police budget. By reducing the number of police on our streets, by halving sentences for violent offenders, the Government are risking creating more victims,” he warned.
Miliband also described the current situation as a “simple test” which the government is “failing.” “They are not making our communities safer now or for the future,” he stressed.