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Politics latest: ‘Elephant in the room’ at Starmer’s first NATO summit – as allies stress support for Ukraine



Politics latest: ‘Elephant in the room’ at Starmer’s first NATO summit – as allies stress support for Ukraine

Overcrowding in Britain’s prisons is one of the domestic crises facing the new government, one which saw the previous Tory administration allow for the early release of some prisoners.

Sir Keir Starmer had pressed Rishi Sunak to guarantee this wouldn’t include any high-risk inmates – and has been asked whether he can make the same promise now he’s prime minister.

Speaking from the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington DC, the PM said: “We will make a statement, in relation to this in coming days.”

Sir Keir said this would include the question of “risk categories”, and “what we intend to do about it”.

Thousands of inmates could be let out early

It comes after Sky News reported an announcement was due in the coming days.

Sky News understands one of the core proposals being considered is a lowering of the automatic release point, from the 50% mark in an inmate’s sentence to 40% or 43%.

At the moment, prisoners serving standard determinate sentences – those with fixed end dates – are released at the halfway point.

Once released, they serve their sentence on licence – meaning they are supervised by the probation service in the community and must stick to certain conditions.

A lowering of the automatic release point could mean thousands of additional inmates being let out early.

Mark Icke, president of the Prison Governors Association., said they welcomed the announcement.

He said: “We look forward to the government announcing their proposed measures and are hopeful that it will be an approach that is clear and can be effectively delivered by staff in prisons and the probation service. 

“We’re hopeful that the penal populism of the last government is a thing of the past and that the new government is willing to invest in our service so that we can effectively protect the public by reducing the likelihood of reoffending by those in our prisons and under supervision in the community.”

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