§ Mrs. Mahon
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that all teenagers convicted of car theft are compelled to undertake community work and not excused from this due to age.
§ Mr. Jack
[holding answer 5 June 1992]: Within the limits imposed by Parliament, it is for the courts to decide on the appropriate sentence in the light of the information available to them. The Criminal Justice Act 1991 strengthens the community sentences, including community service, available to the court, and reinforces the principle that courts should be able to choose the sentence that is most suitable for the offender having regard to the seriousness of the offence.
In the light of the wide range of sentencing options available for people convicted of car theft, including custody, community sentences and financial penalties, we have no plans to curtail courts' discretion by introducing a mandatory sentence for this type of offence.