Search

Ipswich MP calls for tougher prison sentences as government withdraws early release plans

PUBLISHED: 22:02 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 22:02 11 May 2020

Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt has called for tougher sentences after the government withdrew plans for the early release of certain prisoners  Picture: OLIVER SULLIVAN

Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt has called for tougher sentences after the government withdrew plans for the early release of certain prisoners Picture: OLIVER SULLIVAN

Archant

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has called on the government to impose tougher prison sentences after it withdrew plans to release certain prisoners around six months early.

The government plan, if successful, would have seen offenders in England and Wales who met certain criteria – such as those serving sentences of less than four years – eligible for release 180 days early under the Home Detention Curfew scheme.

Currently, prisoners who meet the criteria are eligible for release 135 days early. Previous estimates showed around 500 prisoners would have been eligible for early release as part of the scheme.

A vote would have been held on the proposal today – although a rebellion of backbench MPs, including Mr Hunt, raised opposition to the move on the basis of pushing for tougher sentences.

It has, however, been reported the plan’s withdrawal could be due to the coronavirus crisis reducing the number of court cases.

Mr Hunt said the recent decision to reduce the sentence of Kyreis Davies – a teenager jailed for the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens – helped influence his decision and showed judges were “out of touch” with public opinion on crime and punishment.

Mr Hunt said: “I promised when I was standing for election that I would push in parliament for tougher sentencing if elected.

“My view is that it’s very important that there is greater public confidence in the justice system and that will only happen if justice is done and seen to be done.

“Voting for this legislation would have gone against this in my view and I’m glad that is been pulled and I don’t have to vote against it.”

Mr Hunt added there have been “positive” steps in introducing tougher sentences on criminals, despite criticism by the Prison Reform Trust.

He added: “Unfortunately the situation is made more difficult when so many judges appear to be out of touch with public opinion as we’ve seen recently with the Kyreis Davies case.

“I very much hope this is the end of this particular piece of legislation.”

A total of 397 inmates had tested positive for Covid-19 in 74 prisons as of 5pm on Sunday. Some 479 prison staff have also contracted the virus in 69 jails as well as 15 prisoner escort and custody services workers.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star