Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Judge Backs Call to Jail More Sex Offenders

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Judge Backs Call to Jail More Sex Offenders

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk

A TOP judge has joined forces with police commissioner Vera Baird in a bid to stop convicted sex offenders walking free.

Vera Baird believes there is a 'loophole' in sentencing laws which means offenders convicted of crimes such as downloading or making images of child abuse are sometimes given non-custodial sentences so that they can be put on Sex Offender Treatment Programmes quick-k ly.

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner said, under current guidelines, a custodial sentence of two years or more is needed for those convicted of such crimes to undergo an accredited 39-week sex offender treatment programme in prison.

And the situation is causing her concern. She said: "It's an extremely unfortunate situation that judges are finding the public will be better-served if they sentence offenders, who should go to prison, to non-custodial sentences because the very sex offence courses that are so rare in prison are more readily available in the community. …

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