Criminals Could Serve Longer Sentences In Jail

Criminals Could Serve Longer Sentences In Jail

The Justice Secretary has said he would like to see more prisoners serve their full sentences in jail.

Under the current system, introduced by Labour, most prisoners are automatically released after serving only half their sentence, regardless of their behaviour while behind bars.

Chris Grayling says a new system under which only well-behaved prisoners would be eligible for early release would reduce crime.

"What people don't particularly understand is why sentencing works the way it does," he tells The Daily Telegraph. "If you get [sentenced for] 10 years, you're out after five [years] automatically.

"Every police force will tell you when a serial burglar is behind bars their local burglary rate goes down.

"Ultimately, I'm attracted by an option that doesn't simply automatically release you at a certain point, regardless of whether you've behaved well or not."

He has also sanctioned a review of prison conditions, questioning why some prisoners have access to luxuries such as satellite television.

Mr Grayling conceded it was a "challenge" to make the idea of prison uninviting to criminals from "dysfunctional backgrounds".

"For some young people, prison is the first stable environment," he said. "It is a challenge for us to make it an environment that they don't want to come back to."

"These are not areas where you can deliver radical reforms overnight, you have to work in a direction.

"One of the areas where possibly we've got increased scope in the future in monitoring offenders is GPS tagging, where new technologies mean it's possible to watch an offender wherever they go,” he said.

Mr Grayling's comments are a departure from policy under predecessor Ken Clarke, who suggested prison often proved "costly and ineffectual".

The Justice Secretary said he would also like inmates to be met at the prison gate by a mentor to help them get their lives back on track and that rehabilitation was key to his reforms.