Criminals could cut sentences by saying ‘sorry’
Jul 28, 2010
Tens of thousands of offenders may be able to reduce their sentences by making personal apologies to their victims, under plans for a “rehabilitation revolution” in the criminal justice system.
Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister, is considering the move as part of a drive to offer victims the chance to come face-to-face with the person who committed the crime against them. A report released today by two charities, Victim Support and the Restorative Justice Consortium, suggests the policy could save £185m in two years by cutting reoffending.
,,,,He said that offenders could be confronted with the victims of their crime in meetings facilitated by police officers. “I’m a maximalist when it comes to restorative justice – I want to get it into our system at every stage,” he said. “It makes common sense: if you have a system that is remote, so the victim doesn’t really engage, then [they become] frustrated by the lack of involvement.
“With community payback there is a value of the labour that is being done [in prison or alternative forms of punishment] and that value should be cashed and should be going back to the victim.
But some Conservative MPs warned against favouring the wishes of those working in the criminal justice system, and not the wider public.
Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: “Restorative justice is certainly a fad that excited those that work for the criminal justice system, and I am not sure it is necessarily a bad thing. But it should be no substitute for justice. Some people tend to think that rehabilitation should take primacy over punishment. I don’t think most people agree with that.”