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Prison Sentences

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 138358, tabled on 11 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case R v Jones [2020] EWCA Crim 764 in respect of the sentences of offenders who due to the covid-19 outbreak were imprisoned under conditions different from those under which they were originally sentenced.

Answered on

16 March 2022

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for our independent courts having regard to any guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Council.

The judgment in R v Jones on 20 June 2020 reflects the earlier judgment given in the case of R v Christopher Manning [2020]. Noting that, in accordance with established principles, the courts “will take into account the likely impact of a custodial sentence upon an offender”, the Court of Appeal in R v Manning acknowledged the impact of covid-19 on prisons and observed that the courts should “keep in mind that the impact of a custodial sentence is likely to be heavier during the current emergency than it would otherwise be.” On 23 June 2020 the Sentencing Council published “The application of sentencing principles during the Covid-19 emergency” The application of sentencing principles during the Covid-19 emergency – Sentencing (sentencingcouncil.org.uk).

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