The Criminal Justice Bill, which aims to reduce crime, bring more
offenders to justice and make punishments work more effectively,
was unveiled by the home secretary David Blunkett last week.
The bill includes proposals to increase sentences for violent and
sex offenders, ensure persistent offenders receive more severe
sentences and provide clearer and more rigorous community
Drugs testing and treatment provision would also be extended so
that offenders can tackle their addiction and cut drug-related
Blunkett said:”For the first time we will put the purposes of
sentencing into law: to protect the public, punish the offender,
reduce and deter crime and reform and rehabilitate the
But Paul Cavadino, chief executive of rehabilitation agency Nacro,
warned that the proposals for more severe sentences for persistent
offenders were misguided. “By further overcrowding our already
overstretched jails, the proposals will make it harder for prisons
to rehabilitate offenders and reduce reoffending.”
The Youth Justice Board welcomed the bill’s proposal to extend
parenting orders to parents of first-time offenders who plead
guilty and are given a referral order by a court.
Although the plans to extend intensive fostering, proposed in the
white paper Justice for All as an alternative to custody, were not
mentioned in the bill, the Home Office confirmed its plans to
legislate on intensive fostering at a later stage.