Judges letting crooks off the hook, cops say

Insp.-Gen. Cohen presents stats showing that between 80-98% of lawbreakers receive no more than a quarter of the maximum sentence proscribed by law.

By
August 24, 2009 20:40
1 minute read.
Judges letting crooks off the hook, cops say

high court 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

The nation's courts are letting convicted criminals off with across-the-board light sentencing, police charged this week. During a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen presented figures showing that between 80 and 98 percent of lawbreakers receive no more than a quarter of the maximum sentence proscribed by law. "Punishments need to be made more severe. They are not proportional to the crimes. Police are working hard to capture offenders, and the offenders are ultimately being released when they should remain behind bars," a source from the Public Security Ministry told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. According to the figures, 60% of lawbreakers receive no prison time at all, and are handed down a fine or a suspended sentence instead. Police said the figure of 60% included individuals whom the state prosecution failed to convict for a variety of reasons. Twenty-one percent of convicted offenders receive just 10% of the maximum prison sentence. Twelve percent receive a prison sentence that is between 10% and 20% of the maximum punishment. Only 7% receive a prison sentence that is more than 20% of the maximum penalty. While the law states that people convicted of battery or causing bodily harm can serve a maximum of four years in prison, in reality, according to police, 78% serve no more than 25% of the set jail time. Defendants convicted of robbery should serve between 14 and 20 years behind bars, the law states, but judges have sentenced 90% of convicted robbers to no more than 25% of that sentence. Similarly, while the law stipulates that offenders convicted of unprovoked assault or assaulting their partner serve a maximum four years in prison, judges have sentenced 92% of those convicted for the offenses to no more than 25% of the legal penalty. During the meeting with the prime minister, Cohen said that police could cut crime by 30% if the police budget were expanded to allow the force to recruit 1,000 officers every year for five years.


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