‘It’s right we punish people appropriately’: Lucy Frazer MP talks six-month sentences in BBC radio interview

Justice minister and SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer who wants a ;'conversation' with the public about endin

Justice minister and SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer who wants a ;'conversation' with the public about ending short term prison sentences for offenders but replacing them with what? Picture; LUCY FRAZER - Credit: Archant

The Government is serious about scrapping short term prison sentences says SE Cambs and justice minister Lucy Frazer but victims need re-assurance and alternative punishments must not be seen as “soft options”.

“It’s right we punish people appropriately” the MP told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire today.

The MP added: “We know that many short sentences are for things like shoplifting and we know that many people who commit the crime are actually doing it because they are on drugs.

“So might it be better to help those people come off drugs and so they can turn their lives around and stop the need to reoffend in the future?”

The MP told Chris Mann that we should “start a conversation about the nature of sentences” and “what helps offenders as well”.

She said: “Nearly two thirds of offenders who have a sentence of six months of less go on to commit another offence within 12 months of being released.

“Are we improving their life chances? Is it right for future victims when we’re not turning those people’s lives around and they’re going on to creating more victims?”

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Ms Frazer, who is a barrister by profession, told listeners that she believes it is “very hard to rehabilitate yourself once you come out of prison”.

She raised the option of “other solutions that would help and support people” but made it clear she did not mean “soft options”.

Presenter Chris Mann asked Ms Frazer if the “other solutions” would suit the victims of the crime and argued that the lack of a prison sentence may not be sufficient enough.

Ms Frazer added: “We need to ensure that people who are victims of the crime feel that the people who have offended get the appropriate punishment.

“Any solution must ensure that there is a perception that the crime and the punishment fit. It should not just be about rehabilitation but should also be about punishment.”

The Under-Secretary of State suggested GPS tagging options, preventing criminals from going out as much to prohibit them going about their normal daily life.

She added: “The tagging programme enables people to be monitored and we will know how much alcohol they have got in them, so there are other solutions.

“There are other punishments we can put in place too. Working the community is absolutely something we should consider.”