Ludlow MP Philip Dunne has produced some remarkable figures on community sentences, which the Government has not challenged:
"The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, the right hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Hanson), referred earlier to the introduction of high-visibility jackets last week for those serving community sentences. Will he now turn his attention to getting people who have been issued with community sentences to turn up to undertake them? For the last year for which information is available, 94,000 community sentences were issued but only 42,000 were completed. There is not much point in having high-visibility jackets if nobody is turning up to do the work.
Mr. Hanson: Enforcement is far better than it was 10 years ago, when the hon. Gentleman’s party was in office. Sometimes sentences are not completed because people are sentenced further and end up in jail on a longer sentence. I hope that the hon. Gentleman supports visibility and community involvement, and that he recognises that community sentences are a strong punishment and a strong deterrent that can sometimes help to prevent reoffending."
It is quite breathtaking that so many people seem to have such a casual attitude to a sentence. It’s not voluntary community work! It would be interesting to know what proportion of incompleted sentences are not finished because of subsequent sentences, and how many people just don’t bother to turn up.
Also, it’s a pedantic point, but the Conservatives were not in power ten years ago!