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Criminal Justice System: Men

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 12 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by Lord Bach on 3 February (WS 45), whether they plan to divert vulnerable men as well as vulnerable women, who are not dangerous offenders, from custody. [HL1343]

The Government have asked Lord Bradley to undertake a review of diversion for offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities, which includes men, women and children. Lord Bradley is due to report his findings to Government later this month.

On 5 December 2007, the Secretary of State for Justice announced the Government’s intention to develop a number of intensive alternative to custody demonstrator projects. These aim to encourage diversion from custody by enhancing the supervision that offenders receive on community sentences while building sentencer confidence in their effectiveness. The projects are designed to use current legislation to maximise the use of the community order in those cases where the court may be considering custody but where the National Probation Service believes a community sentence may be more effective in reducing reoffending.

The projects seek to develop learning and improve practice in the application of intensive community sentences as an alternative to short-term custody. There are seven projects across the country. The Derbyshire project started in March 2008; West Yorkshire in August; South Wales and Dyfed-Powys in September. The remaining three (Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Humberside) are scheduled to begin in April 2009.