In this article we draw attention to the recent and extraordinary increase in the number of people in England and Wales recalled to prison during the licence period of their sentence (by examining the published Parole Board and prison statistics). This is followed by a description of the existing law and the recent changes to it, which we suggest will exacerbate the current trend. We seek then to explain the increase by looking primarily at the US experience (which reveals a system which is costly, discriminatory and apparently ineffective at reducing crime) and at recent judicial review cases (which reveal a system which is increasingly acknowledged to be unfair), concluding that current sentencing law and practice puts inappropriate emphasis on 'front door' sentencing practices rather than the equally important 'back door' practices of release, supervision and recall. Unsurprisingly, the article ends with a call for much more research in this area.
- New penology
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