Equality in sentencing

 

Philip Davies is demanding government write to judges to ensure sentences handed out to men and women who commit the same crime are equal.

 

Research by the Shipley MP has repeatedly shown that men are more likely to get sent to prison than women for committing the same offences, and also be handed longer sentences.

 

Speaking in the Commons during Equality Questions Mr Davies said the government claims it is committed to stamping out inequality and now it must act.

 

He said: “One of the starkest areas of inequality is sentencing. For every single category of offence a man is more likely to be sent to prison than a woman. Just one example for child cruelty and neglect 33 per cent of men convicted, only 15 per cent of women convicted for that offence are sent to prison.”

 

He urged Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage to write to the chairman of the sentencing council to instruct him to treat women and men the same when they come before the courts.

 

But Ms Dinenage refused to act claiming it was a matter for the judiciary.

 

She said: “The judiciary are independent of government and rightly so and that there are no gender preferences in terms of sentencing guidelines and every single sentence is given out based upon offence committed and other mitigating factors. Also in the offence identified although women are less likely to go to prison the sentences they receive when they do are actually longer than their male counterparts.”

 

Mr Davies said the minister was “missing the point” and women were walking away with a slap on the wrist for serious crimes when men were being imprisoned.

 

Previous research by Mr Davies revealed women across West Yorkshire are also being sentenced to less time in prison than men who committed the same crime.