Carmichael calls for short prison sentences to be axed

Alistair Carmichael, Home Affairs Spokesperson, speaks at the Liberal Democrats Autumn conference in Brighton. Picture; Steve Parsons
Alistair Carmichael, Home Affairs Spokesperson, speaks at the Liberal Democrats Autumn conference in Brighton. Picture; Steve Parsons
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Prison sentences of under 12 months should be replaced by community measures, a Liberal Democrat former minister has suggested.

Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish secretary in the coalition government, said prison sentences in the UK should be reserved only for those who have committed the most serious offences.

He said courts should work on the presumption of handing out rehabilitation measures for those who would qualify for a prison term of under a year.

Speaking at the Lib Dem party conference in Brighton, Mr Carmichael said: “Short sentences do not work.

“The evidence is clear – custodial sentences of less than 12 months fill our prisons, make rehabilitation more difficult and we should not be scared of saying so. Personally, I want to see a presumption against prison sentences of less than 12 months in all parts of the UK.”