Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Thursday, 20 July 2006 17:58 UK

At-a-glance: justice reforms

An at-a-glance guide to plans to reform the criminal justice system.

SENTENCING

  • Criminals who plead guilty despite being caught red-handed will no longer automatically have their sentence cut by a third

  • Ministers are to consult on how to end the rules where people serving a life sentence can automatically considered for parole half way through their term

  • Judges could get more discretion to say that non-violent/less serious violent offenders should serve more than half of their sentences in jail

  • Rules which mean offenders who are re-sentenced when the government appeals against lenient sentences should see their time in jail cut to take account of the distress of being sentenced again

  • The maximum sentence for knife possession will be increased from two to four years through new laws

VICTIMS' RIGHTS

  • Ensure all members of parole boards who decide on seriously violent or sex offenders can show they understand the plight of victims

  • The views of victims will be put to the parole board in the most serious cases

  • All prosecutors will have to take a new pledge to protect the interests of victims

  • The government is consulting on how it can make it easier for crime victims to sue offenders who get a cash windfall after their crime. It comes after a victim of millionaire rapist Iorworth Hoare, who later won the Lottery, lost her appeal for damages against her attacker

  • Ministers also plan to make violent criminals pay for their victims' medical treatment

HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Human Rights Act will not be repealed or amended

  • Frontline staff who use the act in their everyday work will get "robust" guidance to dispel "myths" about criminals' rights

  • New laws will be used, if necessary, to ensure all criminal justice agencies have a clear duty to protect the public

  • Ministers are to consult on how to ensure people who the courts agree are guilty cannot go free because of irregularities in procedure

COMMUNITY SERVICE AND BAIL

  • Create an integrated service by 2007/8 to enforce bail and community service orders

  • Consult on new targets for returning people to break bail conditions to court

  • New powers to ensure courts presume that defendants who abscond and offend while on bail are remanded in custody

  • Ensure that criminals who break the conditions of their licence when they leave prison can be quickly returned to custody

  • Consult on giving probation officers the power to change the punishment a criminal gets depending on their behaviour - without going back to court

  • Consult on ambitious new targets for seizing criminals' assets

PRISONS

  • Create an extra 8,000 prison places

  • Make more foreign criminals serve their sentences in their home countries, freeing up more prison places. Also have fewer vulnerable women and mentally ill people in jails.

  • New laws to introduce violent offender orders, which give the courts powers to put restrictions on criminals after they finish their sentences

COMMUNITIES

  • Give communities more power to choose what community service projects offenders should do

  • Roll out a new work programme to improve the response to race and religious hate crimes



SEE ALSO
Phones and MP3s fuel robbery rise
20 Jul 06 |  UK Politics
Human rights laws will not change
20 Jul 06 |  UK Politics

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific