Ministers are delivering on a vow to get tough on sentencing, according to today's Sun:
"Tough justice: lags getting longest sentences in 20 years"
It's true that the average sentence length given to offenders is rising, according to the latest figures. The average offender is sentenced to 15.5 months, compared to 14.8 months last year - though of course the portion they actually serve in prison will vary. The long-term trend also shows increases.
But longer average prison sentences don't on their own mean justice is getting 'tougher'. That's because the types of offence people commit varies. If people commit violent crime more often, we'd expect the average sentence length to be higher anyway: it's not necessarily a reflection of a justice system becoming more harsh.
As the Ministry of Justice says, back in 2004, 75% of people were sentenced for an 'indictable' offence (i.e. among the most serious). It's now 84%; in other words, people who are being sentenced are committing more serious crimes.
That's not to say government policies play no role at all, the MoJ also says laws introduced under the previous government caused sentence lengths to rise, as well as the Coalition's recent legislation in 2012. Further research is needed to measure exactly what impact they've had.
Full Fact wants to see greater accountability for public figures who mislead us—and we need your help.
Political debate in the UK is in flux right now. The UK’s exit from the European Union is approaching, we will soon have a new prime minister and potentially a general election.
We want politicians to tell the truth, and while the best politicians realise that their work should be done honestly, some aren't taking their responsibilities seriously. Both sides in the EU referendum campaign let voters down, from deceptively designed leaflets to some of the arguments made on each side. The public rightly expects more from politicians.
We want to see greater accountability for public figures who mislead. Full Fact will continue to advocate for higher standards and call out those who don't uphold them.
But we rely on the generosity of our supporters to make sure we can spot the most harmful misinformation when we most need to.
Can you help us?
Support better public debate today.