Queen’s speech ushers in sentencing shake-up as drugs proposals raise ire

The government has taken steps to honour its pledge to introduce
more effective community sentences for young offenders, with plans
in the Queen’s speech for a draft Youth Justice Bill.

Draft legislation will also emphasise that the main focus of
juvenile sentencing should be prevention of offending, which was
promised in March in response to the consultation Youth Justice –
The Next Steps.

A new intensive supervision and surveillance order will also be
introduced as an alternative to custody for serious or persistent
offenders. Intensive supervision and surveillance programmes are
already available, but can only be given as a condition of a court

Plans to test drug offenders on arrest rather than when charged
were criticised by campaigners.

Richard Kramer, director of policy at social care organisation
Turning Point, said the government should link treatment with
housing, education and employment programmes.

“The police already have extensive powers to test people when they
are charged,” he said. “We don’t need to give them powers to get
people into the system. We need to make treatment programmes more

Martin Barnes, chief executive of drug charity DrugScope, urged
more emphasis on after-care services.

Among other proposed legislation was a National Lottery Bill, which
confirms the merger of the New Opportunities Fund and the Community
Fund and gives a bigger role to the public in decisions about
distributing funds.

The speech announced 32 bills including eight in draft form.


  • Bills Education Bill
  • Disability Discrimination Bill
  • Equality Bill
  • National Lottery Bill
  • Charities Bill
  • Mental Capacity Bill
  • Drugs Bill
  • Draft Bill on Child Contact and Inter-Country Adoption
  • Draft Mental Health Bill
  • Draft Youth Justice Bill

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