Penelope Gibbs, former magistrate and founder of Transform Justice, on whether harsher sentences are effective
Until recently, the subject of criminal punishment hasn’t been a massive public concern for the public (putting aside that small demographic committed to a “hang ’em all!” approach). But in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, calls for misogyny to become a hate crime have gone from a whisper to a roar. That change would give judges the power to increase sentences when misogyny was found to be an aggravating factor in a crime. But would harsher sentences do much to stop such crimes happening? I asked Penelope Gibbs, former magistrate and founder of Transform Justice, a charity campaigning for a more effective justice system.
Did you hear about the Thai fraudster who was sentenced to jail for more than 13,000 years? I guess they needed a number to describe ‘throwing away the key’. Are long sentences becoming more common?
I don’t know about across the world, but I can tell you that in England and Wales sentences have been getting steadily longer over the past decade, by roughly 20%.