26 March 2021

On 9 March 2021, the Ministry of Justice published the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which will introduce many of the sentencing reforms proposed in last September’s White Paper, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing.

The central aims of this Bill are to cut crime, build safer communities and restore public confidence in the criminal justice system. However, we do not anticipate that the sentencing provisions will greatly contribute to these overall policy aims as the primary impact of these reforms is likely to be limited to a relatively small pool of offenders spending slightly longer in custody (either through the imposition of a longer sentence or through the amendment of release arrangements to ensure that they spend a larger proportion of their sentence in prison).

Our response to the publication of the Bill provides a brief commentary on several key areas: