Why a suspended sentence is a real punishment

Despite scepticism from the public, a suspended sentence can be severe and effective

 ‘Members of the public are often a little sceptical about the value of a suspended sentence.’ Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

‘Members of the public are often a little sceptical about the value of a suspended sentence.’ Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

The suspended sentence is highly esteemed by judges and lawyers as a valuable sentencing option. Members of the public are often a little more sceptical.

After all, it seems strange that a court should first decide that an offence is sufficiently serious to warrant imprisonment, but then declare that the offender will not be sent to prison after all.

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