§ Lord Laird
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What purpose gaol sentences serve in their criminal policy; and what purpose they intend such sentences to serve in future. [HL869]
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)
The Government have for the first time in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Section 142) made explicit the purposes of sentencing and put them in statute. They are: the punishment of offenders; the reduction of crime (including its reduction by deterrence); the reform and rehabilitation of offenders; the protection of the public; and the making of reparation by offenders to persons affected by their offence.
Custodial and non-custodial sentences have complementary roles to play in furthering these purposes. Prison should be reserved for serious and dangerous offenders.