The Coalition Government has published its ‘Green Paper’ on sentencing policy.

 “Breaking the cycle: effective punishment, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders” was announced by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon.

 The consultation on this proposed legislation is open until March 2011. Included in the proposals are a number of recommendations for the increased use of restorative justice within the criminal justice system.

 The document is available for download from the MoJ website here.

The green paper on sentencing and rehabilitation sets out plans to break the destructive cycle of crime and prison by ensuring that jails become places of hard work, that rehabilitation programmes are opened up to innovation from the private and charitable sectors, paid by results, and that the priority will now be to reduce the reoffending by people after they have been punished.

The safety and security of the law-abiding citizen is the priority of the programme of reforms. Prison will continue to be the right place for serious offenders, with a renewed focus on rehabilitation after criminals have served their punishments, in order to stop the reoffending that blights the lives of individuals and communities. Despite a 50% increase in the budget for prisons and managing offenders in the last ten years, around half of adult offenders reoffend within a year of being released from prison.

There will also be new measures to force criminals to make amends to victims and communities for the harm they have caused.