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Metrobeans
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B482 - Justice Bill, TSR Labour


Justice Bill


An act to ensure that the main aim of our prison system is rehabilitation of the offender, so they can have the chance to turn their life around in prison to once again become a fully integrated member of the community.

BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-


1. Sentencing
(1) There is no minimum sentence for any crime.
(2) The maximum sentence shall be 21 years for crimes which currently have maximum sentences longer than 21 years.
(a) This may be extended at the end of a prisoners sentence by up to 5 years.
(i) This may is done at the discretion of a parole board, where it can be proven that the offender still poses a risk to the community.
(ii) There is no limit to the number of times an offender's sentence may be extended.


2. Prison System
(1) All offenders convicted to a prison sentence will start their sentence in a conventional prison.
(2) When a prisoner has displayed sustained good behaviour, as determined by prison guards and the prison governor, they are eligible for a transfer to an open prison to serve the rest of their sentence.
(3) If a prisoner commits, or attempts to commit, any criminal offence or bad behaviour, they can be transferred back to a conventional prison.


3. Provision for Open Prisons
(1) A number of open prison around the country shall be set up at the relevant secretary of state's discretion
(2) Open prisons shall consist of fenced-in communities of prisoners, with adequate provisions for prisoners to be trained and educated in trades and academic subjects.
(3) Numerous jobs for inmates will be available, where needs of the community will be provided by other prisoners, provided they are adequately trained eg waste disposal, maintenance work, food supply, kitchen chefs etc.
(a) Prisoners carrying out such work will be offered a minimum wage of £2/hr for their work, and this wage is subject to review alongside other national minimum wages.


4. Commencement, short title and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the Justice Act 2012
(2) This act shall extend to the England and Wales; and
(3) It shall be passed on to the devolved administrations of Scotland and Northern Ireland for their consideration; and
(4) Shall come into force three years following Royal Assent.


NotesThis bill intends to be similar to the Norwegian prison system, where open prisons are available to prisoners who they feel could benefit from them. As well as being cheap to run, they also boast the lowest re-offending rates in Europe, and possibly the world, so it's proven that they work. One of the more famous open prisons is Bastoey, and more information about it can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18121914

Why abolish the minimum sentence?
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Just because there's no minimum sentence doesn't mean that people are suddenly going to get ridiculously low sentences for murder and serious crimes. The lack of a minimum sentence is designed to care for extremely exceptional cases, where there are extremely exceptional circumstances. Each case should be treated individually, and in the occasional cases with extremely exceptional circumstances a one size fits all minimum sentence does not really fit.


Why make a maximum sentence of 21 years?
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This is because we believe that the prison system should primarily be concerned with rehabilitation. If a person has committed an extremely serious crime and is sentenced to 21 years in prison, then they're not just going to be released after 21 years if they still pose a danger to society. This will be continuously reviewed every 5 years, so that people who still pose a danger to society will not be released from prison.
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tehFrance
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Sentencing, no! Yes lets let out the murderers after 21 years, they should get life nothing less.
Prison System, no! Yes lets let out those that change just enough to get to an easier prison.

Overall no!
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Faland
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I agree with 1, but definitely not with 2. Why should non-violent convicts start in conventional prisons, and why should people capable of massive violence go to open prison if they're quiet for a few years? That doesn't make much sense to me. I'm also very unsure about making prison wardens the arbiters of this "good behaviour". I'd also personally like a bit included about the conditions in conventional secure prisons, I've always thought that it's massively poor that we allow inmates access to both gym equipment and violent video games when neither are necessary for their rehabilitation.
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Ysolt
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The part of this bill that deals with sentencing is good, though I think the line "where it can be proven that the offender still poses a risk to the community." should be taken out. Some prisoners (the infamous ones) should stay in a cell even if they don't pose a threat. Though obviously they should be one out of every million prisoners, exceptionally rare. The Peter Sutcliffes of the country. James Holmes and Anders Brehvik are other good examples. I don't agree with letting serious criminals into open prisons so easily either.
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Saoirse:3
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Why do prisoners not deserve the same minimum wage as everyone else? If we want to rehabilitate them, what does treating them in an inferior way to all others achieve?
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eff01
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Just wanted to enquire, prisoners who work and are offered a wage, will they receive this wage directly every week/month or will this be accumulated and given to the prisoner at the time of their release?
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SciFiRory
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(Original post by CLS94)
Why do prisoners not deserve the same minimum wage as everyone else? If we want to rehabilitate them, what does treating them in an inferior way to all others achieve?
I agree with this...

otherwise I think the bill is okay, I am in favour of a the renewable maximum sentence and the renewed focus on rehabilitation.
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Mechie
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(Original post by CLS94)
Why do prisoners not deserve the same minimum wage as everyone else? If we want to rehabilitate them, what does treating them in an inferior way to all others achieve?
Good point actually. I suppose I thought when writing it that they're in prison and have nothing to spend the money on, but if they're providing valid work then they can be paid the NMW.

(Original post by eff01)
Just wanted to enquire, prisoners who work and are offered a wage, will they receive this wage directly every week/month or will this be accumulated and given to the prisoner at the time of their release?
I hadn't really thought about it, and it's not a major concern to the bill really. They could be paid every month I suppose, but I don't suppose that it really matters.
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LETSJaM
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No life sentences! This would allow murderers and rapists out after 21 years.

No!

<3 x
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toronto353
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I'm quite conflicted on this one. I can see the need for rehabilitation, but there are some people who need to stay behind bars really because they are a danger to society. Perhaps amending this Bill for that scenario would be a good idea. I can't see much else to oppose apart from that.
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eff01
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(Original post by davidmarsh01)
I hadn't really thought about it, and it's not a major concern to the bill really. They could be paid every month I suppose, but I don't suppose that it really matters.
Yes, I suppose it's not a major concern and under the current RL system, prison keeps any private cash prisoners have received and releases it to prisoners in weekly amounts i.e- £4, £15.50 and £25.50, so this bill could use that model?

It's a good bill and I wholeheartedly support it
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Melancholy
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I find it puzzling how "rehabilitation" can be made the main aim of a justice system, unless your definition of justice includes some rather counter-intuitive examples. As a beneficial agenda within the justice system, absolutely; but merged within the actual main aim of a justice system, absolutely not.

Rehabilitation? I would punish a man who intentionally murdered another human being, even if I could be 100% assured that he would never commit that crime ever again.

Consequentialist deterrence? I would not punish an innocent man even if I was 100% assured that such an example made of him would deter the crime he was charged with from ever happening again.

Retribution? I see nothing wrong with aligning good-intentioned action with good consequence and bad-intentioned action with bad consequence, from both a consequentialist and deontological perspective. I think it is something that an appropriate scheme of justice demands, for all law-abiding citizens, for all victims, and for all criminals.

For more on punishment and desert: guilt, equal treatment, proportionality and excuses.
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Mechie
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(Original post by JPKC)
I agree with 1, but definitely not with 2. Why should non-violent convicts start in conventional prisons, and why should people capable of massive violence go to open prison if they're quiet for a few years? That doesn't make much sense to me. I'm also very unsure about making prison wardens the arbiters of this "good behaviour". I'd also personally like a bit included about the conditions in conventional secure prisons, I've always thought that it's massively poor that we allow inmates access to both gym equipment and violent video games when neither are necessary for their rehabilitation.
The bolded is a very good point, and will definitely be looked at for the second reading :yy:

Your point about prison wardens deciding who's been good is a good one, do you think that the decision should be up to a parole board?
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username841677
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(Original post by toronto353)
I'm quite conflicted on this one. I can see the need for rehabilitation, but there are some people who need to stay behind bars really because they are a danger to society. Perhaps amending this Bill for that scenario would be a good idea. I can't see much else to oppose apart from that.
1. Sentencing
(1) There is no minimum sentence for any crime.
(2) The maximum sentence shall be 21 years for crimes which currently have maximum sentences longer than 21 years.
(a) This may be extended at the end of a prisoners sentence by up to 5 years.
(i) This may is done at the discretion of a parole board, where it can be proven that the offender still poses a risk to the community.

(ii) There is no limit to the number of times an offender's sentence may be extended.
You may have missed that part.
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toronto353
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(Original post by TopHat)
You may have missed that part.
Ah. I'm warming to this idea now then.
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barnetlad
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I can imagine the response to a plan for a new open prison from the residents in the area.
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TheCrackInTime
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There's a handful of things I agree with here, the scrapping of minimum sentences and an increased focus on rehabilitation for example. I can't support the maximum sentence provision though. It's not that I disagree with a maximum sentence in principle, I believe prisoners have the right to know how long their sentence is following conviction. That means giving a fixed sentence, be it 5/15/30/ect years, life with a minimum tariff, or even life without parole if appropriate, rather than an indetermnate 21 years plus top-ups.

Also, are we to assume this bill doesn't extend to juvenile offenders? If it doesn't then it needs to be made clear, but if it does then 2(1) is completely inappropriate.
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chiggy321
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I'm a little unsure as to how this bill affects the present early release arrangements which are in place. Does the 21 year provision mean that a person may be sentenced to a maximum 21 years imprisonment meaning that in practice the most a judge can ensure someone to serve is 10.5 years because of parole? I'd like some clarification on this issue please as I'm perhaps misunderstanding the current provisions.
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tufc
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An unequivocal 'nay'. It's important that the criminal justice system sends out the message that there are some crimes that are so severe, you will get a full-life sentence at the beginning of your term
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PierceBrosnan
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Aye! Although, there are some issues with the bill as pointed by some of the honourable members of this house, overall I feel it's an agreeable bill.
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