Two thousand criminals are to be released early from jail to ease the prison overcrowding crisis, under plans being prepared by the Justice Secretary.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton, QC, has been forced to draw up proposals to open the gates as the eight-month overcrowding crisis deepens. Under the plan, up to 2,000 prisoners serving less than four years would leave jail early. Those considered for release are likely to be burglars, fraudsters and drug dealers. Offenders convicted of violent or sex crimes would not qualify.
Last night prison staff were bracing themselves for another surge in the numbers held in the 141 jails in England and Wales after police arrests over the weekend. Six sets of court cells were on standby to hold offenders in case there was not enough space in prisons and in emergency cells at police stations. It is estimated to have cost £30 million since last October to hold prisoners in police and court cells.
Burglars and drug offenders ‘to be freed’