The Sentencing Guidelines Council is consulting on sentencing policy for thefts that don't involve a "dwelling" they have sections on all the usual aggravating and mitigating factors. One however has caused the ire of the the sector of the press that claims to represent all right thinking people. Addicts "could escape jail terms" apparently and it is all an evil left wing plot to keep people out of jail. One the council and its sister Advisory Panel are supposed to be independent bodies and two when was the last time the current government did anything left wing in the sphere of law and order? If you read the actual consultation you find the following paragraph:
Many offenders convicted of acquisitive crimes are motivated by an addiction, often to drugs, alcohol or gambling. This does not mitigate the seriousness of the offence, but an offender’s dependency may properly influence the type of sentence imposed. In particular, it may sometimes be appropriate to impose a drug rehabilitation requirement or an alcohol treatment requirement as part of a community order or a suspended sentence order in an attempt to break the cycle of addiction and offending, even if an immediate custodial sentence would otherwise be warranted.
So, if you treat the addiction that is causing people to steal, they won't have to any more. Wow that is an evil suggestion, they should of course be advocating flogging! Of course the real problem here is that the bench will hand down a community sentence with an attached rehabilitation order and the next time they see the offender they will be in breach because their local treatment programme has run out of money. All the funds will have been siphoned off to build Jack Straw's latest folly super-duper-gargantuan-Titan prisons.