Criminals to dodge prison and won't get 'proper punishment' as space is running out

Criminals to dodge prison and won't get 'proper punishment' as space is running out

Criminals 'won't get a proper punishment' as space is running out

Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 29/12/2023

- 16:35

Criminals may be facing more community service rather than prison

Thousands of criminals could be looking to dodge prison time to slash overcrowding, it has been reported.

Some criminals could get let off with just community service meaning they will be scrubbing graffiti, paying a fine, or will be fitted with a GPS tag to monitor alcohol or enforce a curfew.

Repeat and serious offenders will still face prison, but judges would be urged to prioritise those over locking up people over low-level crimes.

Former prison governor Rhona Hotchkiss has said that 'there's a positive case to be made for keeping people out of prison' but the government are 'doing this for the wrong reasons.'

Rhona Hotchkiss

Rhona Hotchkiss said the government are doing this for the 'wrong reasons'


Speaking to GBNews she said: "The Tory government are proposing doing it for the wrong reasons.

"They're doing it in response to a justice system that is busting at the seams because the court system is completely backed up.

"We've allowed remand sentence to grow beyond what is decent at all. And this proposal is being made in response to the fact that Tories can't deliver on their promise to create thousands more prison places in the next five years or so."

She then went on to explain that the community service should only be used on criminals who have committed minor crimes.


Space is short in UK prisons


She said: "Community sentences have to be used in relation to the right people.

For example putting men who've committed sexual and physical violence against women and children onto a community sentence or keeping them out of prison would be entirely wrong.

"But keeping people who have committed acquisitive crimes out of prison is absolutely the right thing to do.

"The community has to be assured that putting people in the community instead of prison will not 'cause increased risk of violence. That's the main concern. So for the Tories to simply do this without pumping millions more into community supervision will not work."

Emily Carver, Rhona Hotchkiss

Low level criminals will be serving community service


When asked whether she thinks that this is "proper punishment Hotchkiss said: There are two elements to the justice system in this country.

"One is punishment, one is deterrent, and deterrent involves rehabilitation.

"If you talk to most victims of crime, they want to know that it won't happen again to other people.

"And by far the best way to do that with crimes of acquisition, theft and so on is not to put people in prison. We know that almost half of people who come into prison on sentences like that will offend again."

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