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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 10, 2009: Tougher Sentences For Knife Murder

Those who commit murder with a knife should face significantly longer in jail than they currently do, Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced today.

Today's announcement will mean that the minimum prison term set by a court which knife killers must serve before they are considered for release by the Parole Board could increase by a decade, going up to 25 years from 15 years. This is more closely aligned to that for murder using a firearm, where the starting point is 30 years.

This follows a detailed review of the starting point from which courts set the minimum prison term for murder using a knife, as announced to Parliament on 16 June 2009.

The mandatory sentence for anyone convicted of murder is life imprisonment. It is up to the trial judge to decide the minimum period that needs to be served before the offender can be considered by the Parole Board for release.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

"The loss of a loved one in any circumstances is heart-breaking, and even more so when they are the victim of a senseless and appalling murder. It is only right that thugs who carry knives with the intention of using them, potentially to kill should the opportunity arise, go to prison for a long time."

"That is why in June I announced that I would review the minimum jail term available to judges for this, and it is why today I am announcing that anyone who kills using a knife, a knife that they had earmarked for this purpose, should go to jail for a minimum of 25 years."

"I am determined to do everything in my power to tackle the menace of knife crime on our streets. The Government is very clear that if someone is caught carrying a knife there will be serious consequences."

Home Secretary Alan Johnson commented:

"This tougher minimum sentence reflects the extreme and violent nature of such crimes and will leave no doubt in the public's mind about how seriously the government views them."

"Knife crime can devastate families and tear apart communities. We are sending out a clear message to the small minority of people who commit such serious and premeditated crime that it will not be tolerated."

"The government has already significantly strengthened the sentences available for knife crime - including doubling the maximum sentencing for carrying a knife, introducing tougher penalties for youths caught with a knife or offensive weapon and making it clear that anyone aged 16 or over caught in possession of a knife can now expect to be prosecuted on the first offence – and today's announcement builds on that work."

Jack Straw added:

"While latest figures show more and more people are going to jail for carrying knives, and going to jail for longer, I am clear that we will not stop in our efforts to stop kids killing with knives. Sentencing in individual cases is, and must remain, a matter for the courts, but the government will continue to play its part by ensuring that tough options are available to them."

The issue was raised by the family of Ben Kinsella following the sentencing of his murderers on Friday 12 June. Mr Straw is writing to the Kinsella family regarding the review.

Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 can only be amended by order subject to Parliamentary approval. Schedule 21 outlines that the starting point for murder using a knife is currently 15 years and the starting point for murder involving the use of a firearm is currently 30 years. But judges may go up or down from the starting point according to the circumstances and aggravating and mitigating factors of the case.