'Resettlement plans are vital' as tougher jail terms urged
Calls for tougher prison sentences by Boris Johnson must be balanced with appropriate plans to resettle offenders, a criminal justice charity in Northern Ireland has said.
Olwen Lyner, head of the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO), made the comments as the Queen's Speech set out the Government's plans.
The Prime Minister is to introduce a new counter-terrorism bill in the wake of the London Bridge attack. This calls for tougher sentences for serious terrorist offenders, with a minimum 14-year term for the worst crimes.
In Northern Ireland, a Department of Justice sentencing policy review is currently ongoing.
Ms Lyner said it was "paramount" for any future sentencing policy here to ensure public safety and provide for justice.
"A further consideration is to reduce the likelihood of reoffending," she said.
"Therefore, it is critical that any decision taken by the courts provides for links to appropriate resettlement services which will contribute to public confidence."
On the current sentencing consultation in Northern Ireland, she said: "NIACRO and the many stakeholders involved want to encourage meaningful dialogue and participation so that we can craft policy that is fit for Northern Ireland."
She said this should fairly represent the five pillars of sentencing: the punishment of the person, reduction of crime, support for reform and rehabilitation, protection of the public and contributing to a meaningful restorative and reparative processes.