Suspects awaiting trial in the U.K. are being moved to apartments and houses to make more room in jails, the Times reports. Low-risk offenders will also be considered for early release.
Naturally, there's opposition. From the Times:
Nick Herbert, the Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “People will be astonished and worried by this latest panic measure to cut the prison population. First we had violent criminals released early on to the streets — now we have free housing for offenders.
“Taxpayers will foot the bill, but they won’t even know that a criminal could be living next door them. If the money is available to give criminals houses, why isn’t it being used to ensure adequate prison capacity?”
But the Ministry of Justice claims this move -- which only affects suspects who are unable to post bail because of an appropriate address -- will ease many problems at once. Again, from the Times:
“The accommodation will allow courts to bail defendants who are currently unable to provide a bail address or who could not be bailed without support,” the ministry said. “This will reduce the loss of liberty and consequent damaging impacts on family life, employment and housing. It will also support the efficient use of public resources, saving on prison places, court escorts and costs of visits to prisons.”