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Breakfast Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Don't jail petty offenders, says prison chief
Prison officer conducts a lesson behind bars
prisoners serving short sentences don't benefit from rehab, says Narey
The boss of Britain's prisons says too many criminals are being jailed for minor offences.

Petty criminals should be serving community sentences, Martin Narey told Breakfast this morning.

Spending a couple of months in jail means that offenders lose their jobs, but fail to benefit from the long term training or rehabilitation that prisons can offer.

Martin Narey, Director General of the Prison Service
Narey: community punishments would be better
Mr Narey was responding to a series of special reports on prison overcrowding which we've been running this week on BBC Breakfast.

Yesterday Graham Satchell reported on a day in the life of Wormwood Scrubs prison in West London.

In an outspoken interview, Martin Narey, the Director General of the Prison Service said:

When we have prisoners for long enough, we can make a real difference: we can get them off drugs, for instance.

"But, sending someone to prison for just a few months, which means they stay with us a few weeks, is just a waste of public money.

" "If the aim is to reduce crime, I want to say very publicly that it's much more effective to put someone on community penalty than to ssend them to pirson.

"If you send someone to us for a few weeks, it will do nothing to reduce crime at all, and it will distract us from doing constructive work with our other prisoners to make them less dangerous.


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Don't jail petty offenders, says Narey

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