Less Juvenile Custodial Sentences in 2012

Fewer youths convicted of knife crimes have been sent to prison compared to last year figures.

The Knife Possession Sentencing Report has been published by the Ministry of justice yesterday. It shows a detailed statistical data related to knife possession offences and compares the figures from 2011 and 2012. According to the report  the period April – June in 2012, 7% of all juveniles (51 of over 1100), convicted of knife crimes were given a custodial sentencing, compared to the 11% in the same period for 2012.  In addition, the proportion of warnings and reprimands increased to 31% and community sentences to 56%.

The situation with adult offenders is the same. Less adults has been given custodial sentencing and the suspended sentences are now more likely to be handed down. The results shown by the report were a little bit surprising, as the Sentencing Guidelines Council, especially instructed the magistrates to be very tough when it comes to knife possession sentences. A judgment from the Court of Appeal in May 2008 said that knife possession sentences should be “at the top end of the range”.

The new MoJ head Chris Graying might want to make tougher sentences for people convicted of knife crimes.

During the time Mr. Graying served as a” shadow home secretary” he spoke out against the Labour government stance on knife offences, by writing that ““the presumption should be that if you are caught carrying a knife, you will go to prison”.

The MoJ spokesman said that the fewer number of custodial sentences did not mean that there is a softening on such kind of offences. “Those convicted and sentenced to prison for knife possession are receiving longer sentences compared to a year ago. “Any adult who commits a crime using a knife can expect to be sent to prison and serious offenders can expect a long sentence.”

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