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Join murderers on a list of criminals not eligible for automatic early releaseProposals follow outrages where offenders have gone on to commit againMonitoring released fanatics puts pressure on police and security
Justice Secretary believes prisoners need to ‘earn’ early release
Terrorists and paedophiles will no longer be allowed to walk free halfway through their jail terms following a huge shake-up of sentencing law.
They will join murderers on a list of criminals not eligible for automatic early release and be kept locked up until either their jail term has been served in full or they are no longer considered a risk to the public.
The proposals follow a string of outrages in which freed paedophiles have gone on to commit more crimes and Al Qaeda members found guilty of plotting mass murder have been able to return to the streets after only a few years behind bars.
Monitoring the freed fanatics places huge pressure on the police and security services.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘It’s outrageous that offenders who commit some truly horrific crimes in this country are automatically released from prison halfway, regardless of their behaviour, attitude and engagement in their own rehabilitation.
‘We need to teach criminals a lesson – you will be punished for your crime and you must earn your release, it is not an automatic right.’
Currently, many inmates sentenced for even serious crimes are entitled to automatic release at the halfway point. Ministers fear it is undermining public faith in the justice system and will put forward new laws early next year to change the rules.
Mr Grayling has produced a list of 20 offences for which offenders will lose their right to go free at the 50 per cent stage. They include rape of a child under 13 and a number of crimes for which terrorists are most commonly prosecuted. Among them are possession of an article for terrorist purposes, inciting terrorism overseas, preparation of terrorist acts, weapons training and training for terrorism.
The criminals could still be released before the end of their custodial term but only under strict conditions and at the discretion of the independent Parole Board.
The board will release a criminal only if it is convinced that they no longer pose a threat to society and that they have engaged with, and continue to engage with, their own rehabilitation.
Mr Grayling said that unless convicts address their offending behaviour they can expect to serve their entire custodial term in prison.
The Government is also introducing a new Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS). This allows criminals convicted of crimes such as grievous bodily harm with intent – who the courts believe are highly dangerous – to be forced to serve at least two-thirds of their sentence.
The changes are likely affect around 600 criminals per year.
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