Source: (1996) London: NACRO.

The government’s white paper titled Protecting the Public proposes automatic minimum sentences that will greatly increase the prison population. These proposals are unnecessary, unjust, impractical, ineffective, and wasteful of scarce resources. The proposed alternatives would begin with efforts to prevent juvenile delinquency through substantial investment related to families, education and training, and work and leisure. Other efforts should focus on drug prevention, drug treatment, and drug education efforts; juvenile justice reforms that instill responsibility in juvenile offenders and reintegrate them into the community; more effective community sentences; and community prisons and resettlement. Additional approaches should include a new strategy for dealing with female offenders; a comprehensive, interagency initiative to address the social exclusion of young black people; a presumption in favor of care and treatment of mentally ill offenders by health and social services; and improved victim services. The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders believes that this strategy has much better prospects of reducing crime and increasing safety than does an increased use of imprisonment. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,