Our Magistrates Are Tough on Criminals; LETTERS

Article excerpt

The comment by Mr Alan Bissell JP on his last day at Mold Magistrates Court (Daily Post October 2) that "It seems to me that it (punishment ) has diminished to the point where it hardly features these days" clearly reflect his personal views spanning his 25 years of public service in the Flint and Mold Magistrates Courts. Caution however should be exercised on how Mr Bissell's statement is likely to be interpreted, for as you observed in the Daily Post article (April 23rd 2013) "Magistrates in North Wales are the toughest in Wales and the fifth toughest in England and Wales." This resulted in 648 persons receiving a custodial sentence last year, a factor which, incidentally, was utilised to support the massively expensive construction of the UK's largest prison in Wrexham. A wider than "Mold and Flint " perspective needs, therefore, to be considered when judging the sentencing practice of the courts and very significantly, the drop of recorded crime in North Wales, which may well have led to a reduction in the number of defendants within the court region served by Mr Bissell . As Mr Bissell's remarks suggest a "going soft" on punishment, as reflected by your headline "We're too soft on criminals" it may be worth examining the case of women offenders in North Wales where the latest annual figures show that some 73 women were imprisoned, with the total number of women in prison more than doubling in the last 15 years. …