Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:36 pm
LONDON (Reuters) - Rapists and sex offenders could face shorter jail sentences under new guidelines to be released for consultation, the Observer reported on Sunday.
Under proposals being outlined by the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC), an independent body which issues advice to courts in England and Wales, sentences for rape and other sexual offences could be cut by 15 percent for most offenders.
The paper quoted Joanne Savage, secretary to the SGC, as saying they would take into consideration the fact that custodial sentences had become "more demanding" and those released from jail were placed under supervision.
But the Home Office was quick to distance itself from the proposal, with a spokesman stressing that the SGC was an independent body.
"Anything they come up with would go out for consultation with the general public and the Home Secretary," he said.
"From our point of view, the public has to be protected from dangerous criminals. What the government has done in recent legislation ... is to create provisions for dangerous offenders which includes rapists.
Under those rules, anyone deemed to pose a serious threat could be jailed for life, said the spokesman.
The SGC's proposals come just days before the Home Office launches a new campaign urging men to make sure that a woman has consented to sex to avoid being accused of rape.
The campaign follows low conviction rates for rape cases in England and Wales.
The sentencing council is also expected to recommend that men convicted of domestic violence could escape jail terms if they convince the courts they are capable of changing.
If so, they would be sent on courses in the community to challenge their attitudes towards women.
But Julie Morgan, Labour MP and chair of the cross-party group on sex equality, told the newspaper she was concerned by the council's proposals.
"There has been a big struggle to get rape and domestic violence recognised as serious, terrible crimes," she said.
"It is a terrible struggle for women to bring these cases to court, and I don't think we ought to give the message that we think these crimes should be dealt with in a lighter way.
Sean Ryan says: Dont place them under supervision.Castrate them.
Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:37 am
Sean, your thread title is misleading. As it clearly states in the article, the recommendations are from an independent body, not the Home Office. The Home Office has in fact distanced itself from the recommendations. The independent body does not run our country, so what's your point?