New Clause 53

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:15 pm ar 29 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 6:15, 29 Tachwedd 2007

Not by anybody in this room. We had a very sensible debate yesterday. There is more that we share in terms of penal policy than that which separates us. We are all seeking the same objectives. I am pleased with what the Minister said about the  rehabilitation of offenders. It is high time that we looked at that again to see how we can improve things. It is not just a case of wiping the slate clean. As the Minister knows, we need to come to terms with a whole range of issues associated with transition, and I look forward to talking with him further about those.

At some point, we must accept that the custody system does not do what we pay it to do. We pay enormous amounts of money for it. There must be better alternatives. We should recognise the damage that it potentially does to young people. In that age group, only those who must be shut away—because it is only by shutting them away that we can protect the public—should be given standard custodial sentences. I do not dispute that there may be other secure sentencing possibilities that we should use instead, but it seems futile to spend an enormous amount of money on a system that has a virtually 100 per cent. reoffending rate. Nobody would plan a public policy with that little effect, but still we carry on with it and expand it in increasing numbers. However, the hour is late and it is time we moved on. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.