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Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Saturday, 21 May 2011 08:27 UK

Is Britain 'old fashioned' on crime and punishment?

With the dust settling on the row over Kenneth Clarke's remarks about rape, the proposed sentencing reform remains.

Home editor Mark Easton explained that saving money was at the heart of the reforms which would see those who admit guilt at an early stage have their sentences halved.

"The only way to do that is to decrease the prison population," he said.

But the reaction to Ken Clarke's comments on rape showed just how determined his opponents were to "derail" the policy.

Conservative backbencher David Davis, a former shadow home secretary, said that the public were firm in their feelings about criminal justice.

"Frankly they do want people punished. They want them out of circulation," he said.

But David Wilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said that there was an "old fashioned argument about crime and punishment in this country".

"Putting people in prison for longer and longer periods of time doesn't deliver," he said.

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