End short term sentences say prison governors

By politics.co.uk staff

Prison governors are proposing the abolition of prison sentences of less than a year it was revealed today.

At its annual conference later today, the Prison Governors’ Association (PGA) will call for short term sentences to be scrapped because they are failing to reform criminals and leading to record overcrowding in jails.

The PGA are calling for community punishments instead.

Paul Tidball, president of the PGA will tell the associations’ annual conference today: “Prison, the most expensive disposal option for the courts, should be reserved for those of highest risk to communities and citizens.

“We really can’t afford, literally, to be locking people up unnecessarily, ineffectually, and so pointlessly.

“We should in fact spend more on fewer, the few who need resources to tackle serious offending behaviour.”

Over half of those sentenced in 2008 were given sentences of less than a year – and it is the average length of sentence for first time offenders who commit theft, fraud, forgery or are convicted of handling stolen goods.

The government has pledged to increase prison capacity to 96,000 by 2014.

Justice secretary Jack Straw is due to address the PGA conference tomorrow.