Commenting on Government plans to temporarily release low-risk prisoners to fight the spread of COVID-19, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Criminal Justice lead, said:
“The Government is absolutely right to take these steps to reduce the prison population and help mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Given the rate of spread, these measures should be actioned as quickly as possible, while maintaining public safety.
“But the Government must also reduce the flow of people entering prison in the first place. We therefore urge the Lord Chancellor to go further.
“Reform has shown that over 80 per cent of short sentences are not for non-violent offences, and community punishments are on average more effective. The Government should ban the use of these sentences immediately to further aid efforts to house a single prisoner per cell.”