HC Deb 15 March 2004 vol 419 c147W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the(a)work and(b)effectiveness of the Sentencing Guidelines Council will be assessed. [159807]

Paul Goggins

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has only just been established. In the longer term we expect to see evidence of its effectiveness in terms of greater consistency in sentencing.

The Government believes that prison should be reserved for serious, dangerous and seriously persistent offenders, and that others are better punished in the community. The Council's work will lead to greater consistency in sentencing, and to a rebalancing between the use of custody and community sentences. As early priorities, the Council will formulate guidelines on sexual offences and on the new generic community sentence. More consistent and effective sentencing should in turn lead to a reduction in re-offending.