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Government sentencing white paper announced

John Bache, Chair of the MA, responds

16 September 2020
Government sentencing white paper announced


Commenting on proposals in the Ministry of Justice’s Sentencing White Paper to create problem-solving courts and ensure that community sentences include effective treatment for mental health, drug and alcohol problems, John Bache, National Chair of the Magistrates Association, said:

‘The focus in this White Paper on problem-solving courts and providing treatment for people with mental health issues and alcohol or drug addictions is very welcome. A third of people on a community sentence report having mental health issues or a drug addiction. Yet less than 1% of community sentences include mental health treatment and only 6% include drug treatment, as these services are simply not available in many areas. This has to change if we want community sentences to be effective in helping offenders to turn their lives around, and on these issues this White Paper is certainly a positive step in the right direction. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Justice on the detailed proposals, especially in relation to problem-solving courts, where review powers for sentencers will be key.’

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