March 25, 2006

READY MADE:

When a 'life sentence' means just 15 months in jail (Ben Leapman and Ben Sheppard, 26/03/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Criminals are being released from jail little more than a year after they have been sentenced to life imprisonment, the Government has admitted.

One offender was freed only 15 months after a life sentence was imposed. Another was jailed for life with a recommendation that he should serve just 16 months. [...]

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, called the sentences "ludicrous" and said: "If they are sentenced to a nominal life sentence it should not be possible for them to be out in little over a year." Legal experts blamed the very short life sentences on the "two strikes and you're out" law, devised by the former Conservative leader, Michael Howard, when he was home secretary, and introduced by Labour in 1997. This compelled judges to impose a life sentence on anyone convicted of a second serious sexual or violent offence.

Judges managed to get around the rule in practice by imposing life sentences but setting minimum terms to be served at an average length of only five years.


The Tories should be able to take law and order and run with it--even Bill Clinton defined himself by executing Ricky Ray Rector.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 25, 2006 9:55 PM
Comments

"Judges managed to get around the rule in practice ..."
Here is the nub of the problem. When judges decide they are above the democratic will of the people, as embodied by the laws passed, they become tyrants. It's the star chamber syndrome.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 26, 2006 4:54 AM

It has more to do with the pressure on judges not to hand out long sentences because of severe jail crowding. That's mostly because building new jails invariably sets off protests by residents' associations whenever one is proposed.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 26, 2006 8:21 AM
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