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Courts: Sentencing

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proposals they have to meet the concerns expressed by the Judges' Council as to how to match sentences to available resources so that judges are not under pressure to impose sentences that they do not believe are appropriate. [HL3146]

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the judge or magistrates dealing with it in accordance with the law and with regard to any guidelines issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council or the Court of Appeal.

Funding for courts is the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor. By virtue of Section 1 of the Courts Act 2003, he is obliged to ensure that there is an effective and efficient courts system and that appropriate services are provided. The Government believe that, as a matter of general policy, prison should be reserved for serious and dangerous offenders and that others are better punished in the community. But they do not seek to influence individual sentences, and nor will they under the new machinery of government arrangements.