Prisoners released on Christmas Day

Nearly 1,000 prisoners including dozens of murders were let out last Christmas to spend time with their family, an MP has uncovered.

Shipley MP Philip Davies demanded the feelings of victim’s families be put first and this was not allowed to happen again this year.

He said: “Nine hundred and seventy three prisoners were allowed home last Christmas including 61 murderers. I would have hoped it would have gone without saying that the victims of those murders will never be able to spend Christmas at home with their families again and the government might reflect on what the family of those victims must think when those murderers are allowed out to enjoy a family Christmas at home when they will never have that experience again.

“Government should tell prisoners if they want to spend time at homes with their families at Christmas they should not commit the crimes in the first place that got them sent to prison.”

Mr Davies called for Justice Secretary Liz Truss to come to the Commons and explain to MPs why such a practice was allowed.

Commons Leader David Lidington said: “All but a very small number of prisoners are going to be released one day at the end of the sentence or on life licence, and I do not think it is unreasonable for people who are approaching the end of a sentence to be looking at ways to help them adjust to society outside prison, earn a living, take family responsibility and hopefully pursue a better path at that point

“He is right that such a step needs to be looked at in the context of overall sentence planning and should not be a way to soften the necessity for the punitive aspect of a prison sentence which the public rightly judges and the prison service to see enforced.”

Mr Davies criticised the response saying sentences were too lenient, very few people served the sentence they are given in full anyway and now criminals were being given the message they will be let home for Christmas.

He added: “I said nothing about looking at this in the context of sentence planning. I firmly believe a person should serve their sentence in full and most certainly not have holiday breaks. Prison is meant to be a punishment not a holiday camp or a jolly where you can leave or a few days and come back. It is absolutely disgusting and makes even more of a mockery of the criminal justice system in this country.”