Speech by the Lord Chief Justice on Sentencing - 9 December 2020

3ToedSloth

War Hero
Were the mythical alien to arrive on earth and, I grant you yet more improbably, take an interest in sentencing in England and Wales by reading the newspapers and dipping into the more noisy parts of on-line media, it would soon gain the impression that sentencing had got softer in recent years. It would read about “wet, liberal judges being soft on criminals” and wonder why criminals convicted of serious offences were getting more lenient sentences than they used to. Then our alien visitor might seek some other sources of information, and if possessed of a brow it might become furrowed.

There is a difficulty with this narrative. It is a myth.

Here are some facts. In 1993 the prison population was a little over 44,000. It is now a little under 80,000. In December 2009, the average length of all custodial sentences was 13.7 months. In December 2019 it was 18.9 months. For cases that could be dealt with only in the Crown Court the average was 16.5 months in 2009 and 21.4 months in 2019. There have been further increases since last December. The latest Ministry of Justice figures show that the overall average had risen to 19.6 months and for indictable only offences to 22.2 months. The average length of the minimum term that a person convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment must serve before the Parole Board can consider release on licence, had risen from 12.5 years in 2003 to 21.3 years in 2016.
 
Were the mythical alien to arrive on earth and, I grant you yet more improbably, take an interest in sentencing in England and Wales by reading the newspapers and dipping into the more noisy parts of on-line media, it would soon gain the impression that sentencing had got softer in recent years. It would read about “wet, liberal judges being soft on criminals” and wonder why criminals convicted of serious offences were getting more lenient sentences than they used to. Then our alien visitor might seek some other sources of information, and if possessed of a brow it might become furrowed.

There is a difficulty with this narrative. It is a myth.

Here are some facts. In 1993 the prison population was a little over 44,000. It is now a little under 80,000. In December 2009, the average length of all custodial sentences was 13.7 months. In December 2019 it was 18.9 months. For cases that could be dealt with only in the Crown Court the average was 16.5 months in 2009 and 21.4 months in 2019. There have been further increases since last December. The latest Ministry of Justice figures show that the overall average had risen to 19.6 months and for indictable only offences to 22.2 months. The average length of the minimum term that a person convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment must serve before the Parole Board can consider release on licence, had risen from 12.5 years in 2003 to 21.3 years in 2016.
What happened between 1993 and 2019??????
 
As you say, an informative read - though I'm left with the distinct impression that the good Lord Chief Justice is very much of the view that it isn't us (the Judiciary) it's the politicians, 'ticularly the MoJ.

:rolleyes:
 

Yokel

LE
Yeah but in the old days nobody ever got murdered, you could leave your doors unlocked at night, and they were no gangs - well apart from the Krays and Richardsons, and their type. There were no drugs and no violence ever took place.....

When was this crime free time people talk about?

A man could drink to the point he could not stand, beat his kids up, and rape his wife without the law getting involved.
 
Yeah but in the old days nobody ever got murdered, you could leave your doors unlocked at night, and they were no gangs - well apart from the Krays and Richardsons, and their type. There were no drugs and no violence ever took place.....

When was this crime free time people talk about?

A man could drink to the point he could not stand, beat his kids up, and rape his wife without the law getting involved.
But they were always very good to their Mums....
 
As you say, an informative read - though I'm left with the distinct impression that the good Lord Chief Justice is very much of the view that it isn't us (the Judiciary) it's the politicians, 'ticularly the MoJ.

:rolleyes:
Informative to a point, though he seems to forget that he was talking to people from a legal and judicial background.

He also seemed to forget that the only people who have the power to, and actually can send convicted prisoners to those prisons are actually, er judges.
Population of the UK in 1993, before Maastricht and then later freedom of movement 57 million.
The current population of the UK, anyone's guess but certainly 76 million + at a conservative estimate.

Wounding and violent assaults against the person in 1993 were 10,701.
Wounding and violent assaults against the person in 2019 were 20,333.

As he makes so much about the prison population figures:-
As at 31st March 2020 there were 82,990 prisoners in the prison system.
Of these 89% were apparently British nationals (73,454 pax).
And 16% of those (13,563) follow the religion of peace.

Obviously the other 11% (9,283 pax) were from elsewhere.

Of that elsewhere Albania comes top at 11%, closely followed by Romania and Poland on 9% respectively.
Irish prisoners come in at 8%, with Jamaican nationals at 5% (I can't even think what their crimes involve) then Lithuanians at 4%, Somalis at 3% all the way down the social order to the 2% of Nigerians (cannot possibly hazard a guess at their alleged infractions).

Of note is that 27% of the overall prison population are BAME, over double the 13% that live outside prison walls, in the general population.

And these figures are just those compiled for England and Wales.
He needs to get out more, ditch the (free) government car and take public transport more often.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Were the mythical alien to arrive on earth and, I grant you yet more improbably, take an interest in sentencing in England and Wales by reading the newspapers and dipping into the more noisy parts of on-line media, it would soon gain the impression that sentencing had got softer in recent years. It would read about “wet, liberal judges being soft on criminals” and wonder why criminals convicted of serious offences were getting more lenient sentences than they used to. Then our alien visitor might seek some other sources of information, and if possessed of a brow it might become furrowed.

There is a difficulty with this narrative. It is a myth.

Here are some facts. In 1993 the prison population was a little over 44,000. It is now a little under 80,000. In December 2009, the average length of all custodial sentences was 13.7 months. In December 2019 it was 18.9 months. For cases that could be dealt with only in the Crown Court the average was 16.5 months in 2009 and 21.4 months in 2019. There have been further increases since last December. The latest Ministry of Justice figures show that the overall average had risen to 19.6 months and for indictable only offences to 22.2 months. The average length of the minimum term that a person convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment must serve before the Parole Board can consider release on licence, had risen from 12.5 years in 2003 to 21.3 years in 2016.
And how many crimes go unsolved now, due to lack of police numbers, deployment of police on paperwork rather than patrolling, concentrating funds on ACPO pet projects to the detriment of burglary, robbery, drug gangs, drive by shootings, people smugglers, modern slavery etc, and'hate crimes' being pursued at the cost of real crimes?

It's all very well to say that those who are caught are imprisoned for longer, but if you're catching fewer and fewer of the buggers, it's a useless statistic.
 
It's all very well to say that those who are caught are imprisoned for longer, but if you're catching fewer and fewer of the buggers, it's a useless statistic.

Policing is a concern of the executive, not the judiciary. I’m sure whilst writing the piece it was with slopey shoulders a well covered arse and an umbrella up for added protection.
 

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