Prison sentences would be set nationally by an independent body depending on the amount of space in jails, under government plans.
Proposals for a Sentencing Commission are in the draft Queen's Speech.
A Justice Ministry spokesman said it could lead to more community sentences - but there would not be shorter jail terms for serious offenders.
For once the Tories have got it right - refusing to join the Parliamentary working group on these disastrous proposals.
Having a national framework for sentencing would make it easier to predict the future size of the prison population and would not be constantly adjusted to reflect fluctuations in capacity, the government argues.
Can't argue with that. It certainly will be easier to predict. And the advantage of that in reducing crime will be .. ?
It's interesting to look at this foolishness in the light of reports from the Youth 'Justice' Board that violent offences by young men and women have risen by 40% in the last three years.
It looks as if the Youth 'Justice' system is working on the 'let the punishment fit the space' principle :
The figures show that robberies committed by youngsters rose by 45 per cent to 6,855, criminal damage increased by 32 per cent to 40,900 and public order crimes increased by 17 per cent to 23,000.So the offences are rocketing - but it's certainly easy to predict the size of the banged-up youth population. The only bit that falls by the wayside is " there would not be shorter jail terms for serious offenders".
The number of youngsters sent to child jails or other secure accommodation remains stable and is running at about 7,000 a year.
In related news, Pauline Campbell, the mother of Sarah Campbell, has died a pointless and wasteful death of an overdose beside the grave of her daughter, who died a pointless and wasteful death of an overdose in Styal Prison, Cheshire.
Poor Pauline Campbell. I must say that in our one communication she expressed great pity and feeling for the family of the man her daughter killed. It's just that you never saw that in the Guardian. But she responded to the death of her daughter, a smackhead convicted of manslaughter, not by campaigning against smack or for the victims of manslaughter, but by campaigning for more resources to be devoted to caring for imprisoned criminals. She hadn't lost a moral compass - the poor thing never had one to lose. Like one or two other mothers of dead children, she was happy to be used as a weapon by activists. It's a tragedy.
I wonder where Sarah Campbell's dad is ? He's been the dog that didn't bark all the way along.