Another master stroke by Lord Falconer. With approximately 70% of prisoners re-offending within the first two years of their release, shouldn't we be keeping them in, rather than letting them out early only to re-offend? This overcrowding problem has been going on long enough now for any reasonable government to have provided more prison spaces. Even temporary, but secure accommodation would have been an improvement over prisoners being kept in police and court cells. The Mayor of New York realised that the same people were committing the majority of the crime in the city. His answer to the problem was this: "you cannot commit crime while you are in prison". He reduced crime in his city by about 70% in the last decade and I think he may have been onto something.
We have people breaking ASBOs multiple times without going to prison, what kind of deterrent is that? It is a fact that making threats does not work, ask any headmaster. Discipline and order are maintained by immediate action, not threats. Discipline works, if it didn't the armed forces would fall apart. Why is their so little crime committed by members of the armed forces? the answer is that they understand that they will be immediately punished, not warned several times and then let off for promising to be good. Zero tolerance is the tool the mayor of New York used - if you commit a crime worthy of a prison sentence then you will go to prison, no ifs no buts. This saw New York's prisons rapidly fill, but over a few years it also saw them rapidly empty as criminals realised that their activities would not be tolerated, and that they would no longer receive warnings.
By making empty threats and releasing prisoners early we are only making things worse for the future. If we do not build more prisons and start filling them with people who deserve to be there, we will never have enough prison spaces.