You couldn't make this up, could you? Our criminal justice system really is a joke.... we put pensioners in prison for not paying their council tax but burglars shouldn't be given jail sentences?
Burglars should not be jailed unless they cause damage or hurt someone when committing their crime, Government advisers said yesterday.
The Sentencing Advisory Panel called for judges and magistrates not to hand down prison sentences to ordinary burglars who were responsible for 'minimal loss or damage'.
But even criminals who operate in gangs or steal large sums of money may walk free under the guidelines, which suggest 'community' punishment for many offenders.
The recommendations contradict last year's ruling by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, which stated that jail should be the 'normally appropriate' punishment for convicted burglars.
Instead, the Sentencing Advisory Panel said yesterday that 'any starting point for domestic burglary should be non-custodial'.
Damage, harm to householders or other factors making the crime more serious should make a jail sentence more likely, it suggested.
But its report acknowledged that some experts had expressed 'grave concern' over the advice.
The recommendations to let burglars walk free come as, for the first time in several years, burglaries are increasing.
Police recorded more than 284,000 burglaries last year, a one per cent increase on the previous year, and the Panel report said the crime was 'still sufficiently common to affect many individuals and households'.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257309/Dont-burglars-jail-unless-hurt--courts-told.html?ITO=1708&referrer=yahoo#ixzz0hvkbDF6d