Committee launches call for evidence on community sentences
The inquiry will focus specifically on community sentences
The House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee announced on 5 May a call for evidence on community sentences. The inquiry will focus on restorative justice and community orders in particular, where a court order sets out the requirements imposed on an adult offender in order for them to serve their sentence in the community.
The Committee’s inquiry will consider the practical aspects related to the use and delivery of community sentences, as well as first-hand experiences and opinions of the various actors in the criminal justice system encountering community sentences. In particular, the Committee is keen to hear from offenders, ex-offenders, victims, sentencers, probation officers, and private or third-sector organisations involved in the delivery of community sentences.
The call for evidence, which is open for feedback from interested stakeholders until 15 June, seeks information on topics including: trends in the use of community sentences (downwards or otherwise); barriers to the use of community sentences; best practices in the delivery of community sentences; disparities in the availability of community sentences across England and Wales; attitudes of sentencers towards community sentences; and cooperation between the Probation Service and its partners, including the National Health Service and private or third-sector organisations involved in the delivery of community sentences.
Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Baroness Sally Hamwee, Chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee, said: “Community sentences are an option for sentencers in certain circumstances, but have been little scrutinised. The Committee is interested in how they are regarded, their practical availability, and their success. The Committee is conducting an inquiry into this important area of our criminal justice system. We are interested to hear about the experiences and opinions of the various actors of the system encountering community sentences. This includes, among others, offenders, ex-offenders, victims, sentencers, probation officers, and private or third-sector organisations involved in the delivery of community sentences. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds who have an interest in this inquiry as well as organisations in the criminal justice sector to come forward and submit evidence. Having a range of different perspectives means that the committee will be better informed to scrutinise this topic and make effective recommendations to the Government.”