Judges must be free to jail abusers and stalkers for longer

Mr Chalk told the Daily Express that sending “cowardly” criminals to prison gives victims of domestic abuse “crucial time and space to rebuild their lives”.

This should include those who breach court orders for offences such as stalking, he said.

Yesterday the Ministry of Justice introduced a “presumption” against sentences of under a year to reduce the record number of prisoners behind bars.

It could result in as many as 37,000 thieves, drug dealers and other lower-level offenders avoiding prison.

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Justice chiefs have confirmed that those convicted of attacking women will not walk free.

But Mr Chalk said: “Those who pose a danger to society must be locked up for as long as it is necessary.

“I know that for many victims of domestic violence or stalking, putting their abusers behind bars for short sentences can provide crucial time and space to allow them to rebuild their lives.

“And so, under our proposals, women will continue to be steadfastly protected.”

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs said it was “absolutely right” that a commitment had been made “to ensuring victims of domestic abuse do not lose out on the justice and protection they need in the upcoming Bill”.

She said domestic abuse victims should not have to go through the system “only to see their perpetrator given a community sentence which fails to hold them account and does not keep the victim safe”.

But Miss Jacobs urged the Government to go further, adding: “I want to see a specific exemption of perpetrators of domestic abuse and sexual violence from the presumption against short sentences.”

She said the probation service must also be better funded and trained to provide “robust pre-
sentencing reports, risk assessment and rehabilitative orders for domestic abuse perpetrators”.

Currently, there are 88,000 criminals locked up in England and Wales. The “operational capacity” of prisons is 88,943.

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