I am delighted to announce the publication of the National Enquiry – Final Report
Facing a backdrop of rising criminal justice costs, spiralling reoffending rates and a change of government, last year Make Justice Work commissioned Peter Oborne, broadcaster and Chief Political Commentator at the Daily Telegraph, to lead a prestigious panel of independent experts in assessing whether rigorous community sentences can be more effective than short prison terms in stopping persistent, low-level offending.
Our findings are clear: community sentences can be cheaper, tougher and more effective than prison for persistent, low-level offenders. But in order to reduce reoffending and reduce costs certain standards must be met and corners cannot be cut.
When we set up Make Justice Work in 2009 the criminal justice policy landscape was very different. Over the past three years we have been leading the charge against short prison sentences. It is an enormous achievement that the failure of these sentences as a response to low-level crime has now been acknowledged across the political spectrum.
But until viable alternatives are put in place we will see little change. The findings of this Enquiry bring together for the first time a comprehensive assessment of what must be done to allow that change to occur, so that we can stop wasting public money and stop compromising public safety.
We now urge the government to take up our challenge and ensure that community sentences are robust enough to give the public and victims confidence in them as alternatives to custody.
The launch of this report marks a watershed moment in our campaign. At this year’s party conferences and beyond we will continue to advance the agenda to reduce the use of short prison sentences and we hope and intend to keep you involved on this most critical of issues.
To read more about the enquiry process please visit the Community or Custody website.