The Sentencing Council for England and Wales initiated a consultation process in order to produce definitive sentencing guidelines for drugs offences for the UK in the coming year.

In order to feed into this process, IDPC, in collaboration with TNI, held an Expert seminar on proportionality in sentencing for drug offences, on 20th May 2011, in London, UK. The seminar was an important gathering of international experts on the subject of proportionality and provided a space for fruitful and in depth discussions on sentencing experiences from around the world. A full account of the discussions, held under Chatham House Rules, will soon be available online, and the draft report of the meeting was sent to the Sentencing Council as part of the consultation process on 20th June.

Our submission to the UK Sentencing Council, available in PDF below, focused on three main issues:

  • The need to distinguish more clearly between different actors in the drug market, not just in terms of the amount of drugs they are caught with, but according to their motivation and related actions.
  • The need to reduce the overall severity of sentencing for supply offences in the UK, which seem to be some of the highest in Europe.
  • The need to give non-custodial sentences to people who can demonstrate that they are cultivating or possessing cannabis for personal treatment of a medical condition.

The IDPC submission to the Sentencing Council was co-signed by a number of international experts who were involved in our Expert seminar on proportionality.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.