Sentencing, community orders, prisons

 The questions to be asked by sentencers should include:
  • Is a custodial sentence the most likely to reduce the likelihood that this person will commit further offences? 

  • Would a custodial sentence make it impossible for the person to pay compensation or make reparation in other ways?
  • Is a place available in a prison which runs a programme which is relevant to enabling the person to live a law-abiding life and which is not available in the community?
In view of the serious overcrowding in prisons, when no place is available in a prison that is not overcrowded, within a reasonable distance of the offender’s home, all sentences of two years or less should be suspended (with any appropriate requirements).