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Justice minister dismisses call for fewer jail sentences
10:00am Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
CALLS from an Oxford law expert to spare thieves and fraudsters from prison have been dismissed.
Oxford University’s Professor Andrew Ashworth said jail terms should only be used for the most serious crimes including those of a violent, threatening or sexual nature.
But former Oxford Crown Court Judge Julian Hall said there should always be the threat of prison for thieves.
He told the Oxford Mail: “I agree that a lot of such offenders need not to be sent to prison, but there has to be some ultimate sanction otherwise people abuse their trust and just keep on getting away with that.
“I have come across that too much.”
Prof Ashworth, the Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University, produced the pamphlet entitled What If Imprisonment Were Abolished For Property Offences?
The Howard League for Penal Reform wants to send a copy to every magistrates’ court in the country.
Prof Ashworth said: “We should be reserving our most severe form of punishment for our most serious types of offending.”
But Justice Minister Damian Green dismissed the professor’s suggestion, saying it would send the wrong signal to criminals, the public and victims.
He said: “Habitual, prolific offenders should have the fear of prison hanging over them.”
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