» Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the prisoners being let out early to relieve overcrowding, the PMOS said that people should wait for the statements in the Houses this afternoon. The PMOS said that crime was down by over a third; there were 5.8 million fewer offences. That was partly due to the fact that we had more police officers on the streets, but also, because we had been catching more people and giving them longer prison sentences. We had also been convicting more people, and that therefore created more pressures in the prison systems. Since 1997, there had been 20,000 extra prison places built, and in the last 2 years, there had been 3500 extra new places, as well as 8000 more in the pipeline, including 700 this year. However, there were pressures within the system, and we had to recognise that.

Put that it was a question of principle that people should serve their sentence on the ground of the way they had been convicted, rather than release them because of difficulties, the PMOS said that he did not want to pre-empt the statements, but the Prime Minister was very clear on the principle, but we also had to deal with the reality. That reality was that we were sending more people to prison, and that did create pressures.

Asked if the Prime Minister’s view had changed on this, the PMOS said that the message we wanted to send was that we were prepared to introduce tougher sentences and to enforce them where necessary.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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