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Cameron to set out crime plans
David Cameron is to announce a "rehabilitation revolution" under which virtually all prisoners will receive help turning their lives around and breaking the cycle of reoffending.
As part of what the Prime Minister will call a "tough but intelligent" approach to criminal justice, there will be a major extension of payment-by-results for companies, charities and voluntary groups who help offenders escape a life of crime.
Currently only those who are jailed for more than a year are given rehabilitation. Mr Cameron will say he wants to see all but a small number of high-risk prisoners receive support by the end of 2015.
While placing a greater emphasis on rehabilitation, the Prime Minister will seek to reassure supporters of tougher sentencing - including many on the right of his party - that he is not turning "soft or liberal" on law and order.
In a major speech, designed to recapture the political agenda after weeks of difficulties for the Government, he will stress that he never in fact uttered the phrase "hug a hoodie" despite it becoming a defining motif of his leadership.
Serious crimes must be met with long prison sentences, he will say, but he will argue that "just being tough isn't a successful strategy in itself", and prisoners who cannot read, are addicted to drugs or have never worked, need help so that they can lead productive lives.
"Recognising this isn't soft or liberal, it's common sense," he will say. "We'll never create a safer society unless we give people, especially young people, opportunities and chances away from crime. Prevention is the cheapest and most effective way to deal with crime - everything else is simply picking up the pieces of failure that has gone before."
Labour accused the Prime Minister of "empty rhetoric" designed to keep Tory MPs on-side.
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "There is nothing intelligent or tough about cutting frontline police officers, reducing the power of judges to give tough sentences or cutting support for innocent victims of crime. This is nothing more than a smokescreen to try and cover up Andrew Mitchell losing his job on Friday and 29 wasted months of dithering on law and order. This out of touch Government must think the public are stupid - it's these kind of actions that makes the public so cynical about politicians."
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said she hoped the Prime Minister's "tough but intelligent" approach to crime would take account of "wider social solutions, many of which lie outside of the criminal justice system". She said: "When it comes to crime and punishment, far too often politicians confuse toughness - longer sentences, greater use of imprisonment, harsher treatment - with effectiveness - dealing with addictions, mental health, unemployment and homelessness and requiring offenders to make amends to their victims."