End early releases, says MP

A CALL has been made by Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert to end the automatic early release of prisoners.

Mr Herbert told the Commons last week the current system where offenders on fixed sentences were released halfway through their jail terms, or earlier if they were tagged, undermined confidence in justice.

More acceptable would be a system of honesty in sentencing, said former policing and criminal justice minister Mr Herbert, with a structure of minimum and maximum sentences.

“We should not accept the principle of automatic early release,” he said. “It would be much better if release were earned and bore some relation to the prisoner’s conduct, progress in rehabilitation and suitability for release.”

Mr Herbert also proposed an enhanced role for magistrates such as sitting in community venues outside of courts. He spoke as the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill made progress.