Longer prison sentences do not work as a deterrent because criminals do not believe they will be caught with police detection rates so low, according to research by the judicial body that oversees sentencing.
A major study by the Sentencing Council said that the “low risk of detection” undermined “any deterrent effect” that longer sentences had on criminals.
It said this was one of five reasons why there was “no strong evidence” to support longer sentences having a “general deterrent effect” on offenders.
“Moreover, we note that some have argued it is time to accept that sentence severity has no effect on the level of crime in society,” said the council.
It’s the expected sentence – time times probability of being handed time – that matters.