Ministers are pressing ahead with plans to create a Sentencing Commission that will make sentences more uniform, allowing them to control and predict the flow of criminals into jails.
But the entire point of having judges decide sentences is that they, and they alone, are both trained in hte law and have heard all of the evidence at the trial. That\’s exactly why we give them the power of sentencing.
The Government said the commission would "enable better alignment of the demands and resources for correctional services".
Essentially, before sentencing someone to prison the judges will have to consider whether there is a place available.
This will lead to a rather interesting piece of gaming I think. Those defence lawyers who can predict when the prisons are full will try to schedule trials for those very times, thus reducing the sentences on offer to their clients. Not quite was we might intend, do you think?
That the sentence handed down does not depend upon the specifics of the case, but on how many other people have committed crimes at about the same time?