Docking offenders’ benefits will cut our legal aid bill

With British public finances under strain, Dalrymple suggests the government consider the fiscal benefits of a change in policy that he has long argued the country already needs: tougher sentences on criminals.

The majority of crime is committed by a small proportion of the population; our prisons are full of recidivists and statistics show that by the age of 39 most criminals stop committing imprisonable crimes.

The implications for a sensible sentencing policy are obvious; and such a policy would decrease rather than increase costs because it is cheaper to imprison someone for five years at a stretch than for five years in ten six-month sentences. The legal aid bill would be much reduced because there would be far fewer cases to defend. Indeed, if one asked on the question of leniency “Cui bono?”, the answer would be the lawyers far more than the criminals.

How optimistic is he about such a policy change? I bet you can guess.

Read it at The Times (subscription required)

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