The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Monday, September 28, 2009

From The Sharp End

This via a colleague in another part of the country:-
Addressing a gathering of magistrates, the Governor of a prison told them:
If we sentence for 28 days, he will immediately turn them out on licence and with a housing grant. If we sentence them for 21 days however, he can't get rid of them and keeps them. Apparently the Prison Governor can cut 18 days off a short term sentence and send them out on licence irrespective of what the Court has ordered.
He is quoted as saying: "Serco will telephone me and say they have a short term prisoner in the van (ie 1 month = 2 weeks in prison) and I will just tell them not to even bring them to xxxx HMP, let them go. And that is precisely what happens".

Once Jack Straw had steeled himself to bring in Early Release this sort of thing was bound to happen. Can you imagine, particularly in the light of the country's dire financial position, any government rescinding the ER scheme, or taking any steps to rationalise the whole mishmash of prison sentences? Immediate vs. suspended custody, automatic half-time release, 18 days' early release, home detention curfew, IPPs, parole, the lot. I am thoroughly fed up with continual tinkering with the law, but this mess needs sorting out in a logical and rational way. Don't hold your breath.