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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Friday, 9 July 2010 17:35 UK

MP John Mann attacks prison sentence reduction plan

By Allister Craddock
Politics show, BBC East Midlands

John Mann, MP
Mr Mann believes the policy "waves the white flag of surrender"

A Labour MP has attacked the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, over his comments about the ineffectiveness of many short-term prison sentences.

John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, insists:

"The Tories went into the election attacking early prison release.

"We now know that this will no longer be an issue as Clarke and the Tories will not be putting these convicted burglars and robbers into prison in the first place.

"This fundamentally weakens the battle against hard drugs.

"It will leave pensioners in particular vulnerable to repeat offenders who steal small amounts of money for drugs but at huge emotional cost to the victims."

Mr Mann believes that the government policy "waves the white flag of surrender to drug dealers."

Carousel of people

Claims that are rejected by the Solicitor General, Harborough MP, Edward Garnier. He emphasises:

"It is not any part of our policy to do away with prison or to stop sending violent or dangerous offenders to prison. And people who deal in drugs can expect to be sent to prison."

Edward Garnier, MP
Mr Garnier says short term prisoners do not receive rehabilitation

As former Shadow Prisons Minister, he visited many of Britain's prisons. And he told the Politics Show:

"We need to stop this ridiculous carousel of people going in and out of prison with nothing happening to help them while they are there.

"Those given six-month sentences only serve three months.

"Because of prison overcrowding, they won't receive any rehabilitation, no help with reading and writing if they are illiterate, no employment courses.

"They go back into the community in exactly the same state as before."

Ken Clarke says he is committed to a full review of sentencing policy "to ensure that it is effective in what it is supposed to do - deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and, the part where we've been failing most, cutting reoffending."

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