In your article "Family flee from the rapist next door" (13 October) you fail to note the real problem. Plea-bargaining has resulted in a wholly inappropriate sentence for a sexual offender. Because he was convicted of burglary this man would not have been eligible for (or rather, come to the notice of) the prison treatment programme for sex offenders and other sanctions and services available could not have been implemented. Whose fault? The prison system? The judge? No, blame lies with the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
It is worth noting that Michael Howard's proposals for life sentences for second-time rapists would not have helped in this case. In fact I suspect the number of such cases will increase, as more are plea-bargained to avoid life sentences.
Home Office employee