Thousands of prisoners in the UK are to be released early to ease the problem of overcrowded jails.
Inmates serving sentences of four years or less will be allowed out up to 18 days before their due date, with certain restrictions.
The measure will not apply to those convicted of serious violent or sexual offences, nor to foreign prisoners set to be deported.
The ruling, set to come into effect by the end of this month, has incensed opposition leaders like conservative David Davis:
“This is a disgrace but it’s a predictable outcome of several years of the government ignoring problems: massive growth in prisoner numbers and not fast enough growth in the number of prisons available. So we were going to get here; they’ve been warned any number of times and they’re now owning up to spending vast amounts of taxpayers money and putting the public at risk.”
The number of inmates in English and Welsh jails has risen from around 60,000 to over 80,000 in the last ten years. The Prison Reform Trust says a long-overdue, short-term fix could buy the government time to find a long-term solution.