NEARLY 40,000 criminals would have escaped prison last year alone under Labour’s pledge to scrap sentences of under six months, figures revealed last night.
Knife crimes, theft, burglary and drugs offences would no longer be punished with a prison sentence under Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto plans.
The party says it would introduce a presumption against prison sentences of under six months for non-violent and non-sexual offences.
A Tory analysis of government figures found eight in ten of those sentenced for knife crime offences would have avoided jail last year – leaving 1,200 more offenders remaining on the streets.
More than eight in ten convicted thieves and more than nine in ten burglars would have escaped prison, while prison sentences for dangerous drugs would be all-but abolished under Labour’s soft crime plans.
Only 65 criminals would have faced jail last year – just one per cent of those convicted for drugs offences.
Labour’s policy would have left 500 fewer thieves and 268 fewer burglars locked up if the policy was in place last year, the analysis of government figures revealed.
CORBYN ‘CAN’T BE TRUSTED’
It comes after Mr Corbyn was condemned earlier this week for saying convicted terrorists should “not necessarily” serve their full prison sentences.
And he has refused to commit a Labour government to abolishing the automatic early release policy that led to London Bridge attacker Usman Khan walking free after serving just half of his 16-year sentence.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland warned: “Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour would let tens of thousands or criminals avoid prison. They simply cannot be trusted to govern the country and keep our streets safe.
“A Conservative majority government will keep people safe with 20,000 new police officers, 10,000 more prison places and a new Sentencing Bill.
“Unlike Labour, we trust our judges and magistrates to use their sentencing powers appropriately, and we will always provide the prison places needed to hold those sentenced by the courts.
“Labour are soft on crime, and would spend the next year on the chaos of another two referendums. Only a vote for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will get Brexit done and keep our streets safe.”
But Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon defended his party’s plans, saying last night: “Tory cuts have left our prisons and streets less safe. Labour’s priority is to reduce the number of victims of crime. We’ll do that by acting on the evidence of what works best.
“For dangerous offenders prison will always be necessary. But the Tories are creating more victims by ignoring the Ministry of Justice’s own evidence that there’d be tens of thousands fewer crimes if ineffective super short prison sentences for non-violent and non-sexual offences were replaced with community alternatives that actually work.
“Reducing the use of expensive and ineffective short prison sentences, where possible, will free up valuable justice resources to properly deal with those who pose a risk to the public – something the Tories have repeatedly failed to do.”