Overcrowded prisons are a national disgrace

Overcrowded prisons are a national disgrace

The Independent’s leader (Overcrowded prisons are a national disgrace, 24 Nov) is right to call short prison sentences the most obviously dysfunctional part of what Ken Clarke called our “broken penal system”, and his proposed reforms should appeal to those who care about efficient use of public money. After all, the evidence is that intensive community sentences reduce reoffending more than short sentences.

An offender can spend three months doing nothing in prison and cost us £11,000 while for half that amount they could be on a year-long intensive sentence that forces them to address the reasons they committed the crime, and which they find a tougher punishment. Cutting crime, handing out true punishment and reparation, and saving taxpayers’ money are reasons that should unite Clarke and his party behind sentencing reform.