Letter: Too many jailed

Sir: Michael Phillips (Letters, 6 May) asks me to say how far prison overcrowding is due to more people committing imprisonable offences. Between 1992 and 1995 the number of people sentenced for indictable offences fell by 7 per cent, but the proportion given prison sentences rose from 15 to 20 per cent and in Crown Courts from 44 to 56 per cent. The sharply rising prison population does not therefore result from more offenders appearing before the courts but from harsher sentencing.

PAUL CAVADINO

Chair, Penal Affairs Consortium

London SW9

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