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'Little faith' in crime punishments

The Government must get tough on offenders punished outside prison to restore the faith of victims in the criminal justice system, a senior adviser has claimed.

Victims and Witnesses Commissioner Louise Casey called on ministers to stop letting criminals who fail to undertake work in the community, or repay fines, off the hook.

She said victims want to see offenders punished and rehabilitated whether they are jailed or ordered to pay fines and undertake other reparation for their actions.

Speaking ahead of a speech to the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Mrs Casey said community payback schemes must be tightened up and made five days a week and called for fines to be better enforced.

And she said the Government must overcome its "squeamishness" about publishing information about what happens to criminals when they are prosecuted, to improve confidence in the courts.

Mrs Casey said: "Victims want people punished and they want them rehabilitated. Victims will be the first to say: 'I don't want this to happen to anyone else.'

"We need to get a lot tougher on punishing people properly in the community before they even move on to where they could be locked up.

"Why fine enforcement is so poorly done, I still do not understand. Fines are written off and not paid.

"The tone that should be set throughout the criminal justice system is that the punishment should fit the crime."

Her comments will be read with interest by the coalition Government, which has set out to shake-up the criminal justice system from the police frontline to prisons and rehabilitation.


From Belfast Telegraph