HC Deb 23 June 1988 vol 135 c674W
39. Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received calling for longer minimum prison sentences in respect of violent offences.

Mr. John Patten

We receive many letters about sentencing policy and some call for the introduction of minimum sentences. At present, only murder has a mandatory sentence. We believe that minimum sentences for other offences would hinder the courts' ability to take account of the widely different circumstances of each case.

45. Mr. Patrick Thompson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to ensure that adequate penalties are available to the courts for them to deal with offenders convicted of violent crimes; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

We consider the existing maximum penalties are generally satisfactory but we keep them under constant review. When necessary. they are increased; the Criminal Justice Bill increases the maximum penalties for child cruelty and certain firearms offences. The Bill also includes a provision which will allow allegedly overlenient sentences to be referred to the Court of Appeal.

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