The prisons minister of the United Kingdom has requested for a “massive reduction” in the number of people who are sent to prison for a short sentence. He said that imprisonment of under 12 months makes the offenders more prone to commit more crimes.
During an interview with the Sunday Politics programme of the BBC, Rory Stewart said that prisoners who are released on licence – when they may be discharged from prison on some conditions to reintegrate them into the community – could be used to satisfy the shortages in labour forces in low-skilled jobs that are “partly” caused by Brexit.
According to Stewart, his comments come at a time when the UK government is struggling with the ways on how to reduce a swiftly increasing prison population, that is caused by longer sentences as punishment to violent crime and “many, many more sex offenders.”
Stewart added that many of the prisoners were “cycling” in and out on sentences of a few weeks or less, and said that reoffending rates were “far too high from short sentences.”
He stated: “The statistics demonstrate that sending someone to prison for a very short period makes them more likely to re-offend compared to community sentences. So it’s not good for them and it’s not good for public safety.”
Some well-known businesses have already signed up to initiatives to help the offenders get back into work. These businesses include Marks & Spencer, Greggs, and Timpson.
However, Stewart added that the violent offenders would “probably” have to be treated differently, so as to preserve an element of “punishment.”
He admitted that the government of the United Kingdom had gone forwards and backwards regarding the issue of whether to allow the prisoners to work. However, he said that prisoners who had jobs were much less likely to commit more crimes.