The worst offenders should serve most of their sentence in prison. They should not be released after serving just half of their sentence automatically. Yet when Labour were last in Government, their crime policy meant that most serious criminals are still released halfway through their sentence.
That’s why we are changing the law to end that policy, so that those serious criminals will have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentence in prison before being released – and even then, only under stricter licence conditions.
Why Labour’s crime policy gave us Automatic Early Release
Over 90% of people currently sent to prison are automatically released halfway through their sentence. That includes some of the most serious and violent offenders. A ten-year sentence can be cut down to just five under current rules – and many automatically do get cut down.
This originated from Labour sentencing laws in 2005. The policy covers criminals jailed for four or more years and even includes those convicted of manslaughter, rape, arson, grievous bodily harm and robbery.
We’re going to undo these lenient laws and punish violent and sexual criminals properly.
Our proposed Conservative crime policy
In addition to our other policies on crime, such as our police taser plans and strengthening the Domestic Abuse Bill, we are going to make sure that the most serious violent and sexual offenders serve more of their given sentence in prison. Those who are sentenced to at least four years in prison will no longer be released halfway automatically. Instead, they must serve at least two thirds of that sentence in prison.
On release, they will also be subject to tougher licence conditions. Furthermore, if criminals break any of those conditions, they will be recalled to prison to serve the rest of their sentence. We have an obligation to keep the public safe, and the policy changes that we are implementing will reflect that.
We are not just ending Automatic Early Release
Since coming to Government, the Prime Minister has announced an urgent review of sentencing. We must ensure that the public are properly protected from the most dangerous criminals, and make sure that people are serving the appropriate length of sentences.
Part of this means extending the Unduly Lenient Sentence too, so that more victims can challenge the sentences that offenders receive. Criminals convicted of stalking, child sexual abuse, harassment or other sexual offences could see their sentence increased if the public or victims think the punishment is too lenient.
This adds additional checks on the system to make sure criminals are correctly punished.
Labour’s crime policy risks our security altogether
Rather than support stronger punishments, Labour have instead said they want to scrap sentences less than six months altogether. This would keep criminals on our streets instead of correctly punishing those who break the law and providing rehabilitation to those who need it.
They justify their policy by claiming that there will be less people in prisons, therefore reducing costs. When Labour has committed themselves to so many exorbitant spending plans, it is no surprise that they want to cut costs wherever they see an opportunity.
But we want to ensure that we are protecting the public and making sure that justice is done. And that’s why we’re ending Automatic Early Release for the most serious offenders.