Law chief slams high custody claims

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

A LEADING legal figure has criticised the Howard League for Penal Reform’s latest survey which claimed the county’s defendants are four times more likely to be sent to prison at Derbyshire’s magistrates’ courts than anywhere in England and Wales.

Custodial sentences were handed to 993 people out of 16,113 sentences in Derbyshire according to the league producing a 6.2per cent custody rate which it claims is almost double the national average.

But Magistrates’ Association Chairman John Fassenfelt said he wants to examine the figures. He argued the number sentenced to custody has fallen but because of a fall in total numbers sentenced, the percentage into custody has risen. He stressed sentences are designed to protect the public and punish as well as address rehabilitation and crime reduction. Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said there are guidelines and prison is right for serious offenders but there is greater supervision and rehabilitation to reduce reoffending.