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Catch22’s Head of Victim Service responds to Government sentencing review

Emma Jones, responds to Government announcements of an extra 10,000 new prison places, expanded stop-and-search powers for police and proposals to prevent prisoners being automatically released half way through their sentences.

12 August 2019

Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a review of sentencing policies, “to ensure the public are properly protected from the most dangerous criminals”.

Plans to protect the public and crack down on crime in England and Wales include proposals for creating 10,000 places in new prisons by 2020, hiring 20,000 police officers by 2022, expanded stop-and-search powers for police and proposals to prevent prisoners being automatically released half way through their sentences.

At Catch22 we believe that whilst desire to create a justice system that deters potential criminals is worthy, policy makers shouldn’t lose sight of the other proven levers to meet that aim; restorative justice, adequately funded rehabilitation and resettlement services and vitally, support for victims both short and long term.

Emma Jones, Catch22 Head of Service at Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Service, responds to these Government announcements:

“We work with more than 200 victims of crime a month who have experienced a whole range of crimes including domestic violence, historic sexual abuse and theft. For some, these proposals are welcome as they want the toughest possible sanctions against those who have committed crimes.   For others who have been through a process of restorative justice, the view is very different.

“These victims feel they have played a real part in the justice process by putting questions to the harmer directly, which often helps them to recover more quickly from the impact of the crime and reduces the likelihood of the harmer reoffending. Early release in some circumstances, as long as the victim is properly supported, can be positive. The responses from victims of crime towards their harmer is incredibly individual.”