HC Deb 07 October 2003 vol 411 c44W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the proposed increase in magistrates' sentencing powers will be implemented before the Custody plus scheme is rolled out. [128618]

Paul Goggins:

Final decisions on the timing of the reforms in the Criminal Justice Bill have not yet been made. It is likely that we will introduce elements of the sentencing reforms in phases, to ensure that they are introduced without too much disruption, and to enable the Prison Service and the National Probation Service to reach the capacity necessary to implement them successfully.

Custody plus in particular will create an additional caseload for the probation service, which will need to be well planned for.

Our decision on timing will also take into account the potential benefits of linking the increase in magistrates' sentencing powers with the new arrangements for allocation and transfer of cases between magistrates and the Crown court, in Part 6 of the Bill, which we may wish to implement in advance of custody plus.

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