Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair 'Refuses to to Cut Prisoner Numbers amid Crowding Fears'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair 'Refuses to to Cut Prisoner Numbers amid Crowding Fears'

Article excerpt

TONY BLAIR has vetoed plans to cut the numbers going to jail to prevent a summer of prison overcrowding, it was reported today.

The Prime Minister rejected a series of proposals from Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, who will lead the new Ministry of Justice when it is created tomorrow.

The proposals included shorter sentences for nonviolent offences, the abolition of the option of custody for shoplifting when goods less than [pounds sterling]200 are stolen, and restricting the use of suspended sentences which tend to lead t o prison a f t e r re-offending.

But sources say Mr Blair is determined to ensure that his legacy when he leaves office will not include a relaxation of sentencing policy.

His decision could now result in prison overcrowding, a problem which Gordon Brown will have to deal with when he takes as prime minister in June.

The Times also reported that an increase in the use of a new "indeterminate" life sentence could also add to the overcrowding problem. …

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