§ Lord Lester of Herne Hill
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 30 June (WA 54), whether they consider that it is their responsibility to plan the maximum desirable size of the prison population in England and Wales; and, if so, what do they consider is the maximum desirable size of the prison population in current circumstances. [HL3744]
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
The Government have made it clear that it is for the courts to decide, in individual criminal cases, the appropriate sentence for an offender by reference to the facts of the case and the offender's circumstances. It is not for the Government to determine the size of the prison population but they 25WA do believe that prison should be reserved for serious, dangerous and the most persistent of offenders.
It is the duty of the Prison Service to receive and accommodate, in humane conditions, those prisoners sent to it by the courts. The Government are keeping under review the demand on prison places and the capacity of the Prison Service to meet those demands.