McNulty admits jail sentences are longer as prison numbers grow

Sentences for non-serious offenders are longer and the number of prisoners has risen as a result of government policy, Home Office minister Tony McNulty said yesterday.

McNulty told a parliamentary debate on prison overcrowding and sentencing, that government policies had rightly sent more violent prisoners to jail.

But he added: “The general rise in the length of sentences has included those for non-serious or non-violent offenders. That was not our intention, but it has contributed significantly to the rising prison numbers.”

During the debate, MPs from all parties described prison conditions as breeding grounds for reoffending. They called for more investment in drug programmes and mental health services to reduce the number in custody.

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