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Suspended Sentences Soar in Cornwall and Devon

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3:28pm 12th May 2014
(Updated 3:28pm 12th May 2014)

Pirate FM can reveal the number of criminals facing prison and being handed suspended sentences in Cornwall and Devon.

The Centre for Crime Prevention says it was almost a thousand last year, or 36%

The figures for the Duchy and Devon are the sixth highest in the UK and up from 56 a decade ago.

Nationwide, suspended sentences were handed down to more than 11 thousand serious and repeat offenders.

They were given out for a range of offences including, theft, fraud, sex offences and even manslaughter.

110,745 (22%) of the 510,065 sentences passed by courts in 2012/13 were to criminals who had previously had at least one prison sentence suspended.

48,108 were given to those with 2 or more previous suspended sentences.

232 were given to those with 10 or more.

Peter Cuthbertson, author of the report and Director of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: "Thugs and sex offenders who think they are finally going to prison are overjoyed when find out that the prison sentence has been suspended. It makes a mockery of justice for victims and puts the public at great risk. These figures show that criminals given suspended sentences go on to commit hundreds of thousands of crimes. Suspended sentences should be abolished."

Duchy support work Sally Piper said: "If someone is sentenced to say two months in prison but suspended for three years, that means for three years they have got to behave themselves and if they don't they will then go to prison, whereas two months in prison is not going to achieve anything.

"They will feel they haven't been taken seriously, and obviously that is what we would be concerned about, because we want to make sure the victim feels they have had justice, but there is a bit of me that thinks maybe suspending it over a longer period of time is quite a good idea."


3:28pm 12th May 2014

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