asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they consider greater use of suspended sentences to be appropriate (whether or not in combination with other sentences) for female offenders, particularly for non-violent crimes. [HL1251]143WA
§ Lord Bassam of Brighton
The Home Office and Her Majesty's Prison Service have established a joint working group to consider strategy on women offenders, including the range of sentences available.
The Government believe that the courts should have available to them a range of sentences suitable for dealing with all offences and offenders, both men and women. We believe that appropriate sentences can help reduce reoffending and protect the public.
Suspended sentences are currently available only in cases where imprisonment of not more than two years is appropriate and where exceptional circumstances justify suspension. Decisions as to the appropriate sentence in a particular case, including decisions as to whether circumstances are exceptional, are for the courts. The Government are considering whether greater use might be made of suspended sentences, by themselves or in combination with community penalties or supervision, for particular types of offender.