Human rights groups have expressed concern over the length of sentencing handed down to those convicted of offences during the rioting that took over the streets of England's biggest cities last week.
After last week's riots that took over the streets of Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester, David Cameron promised to come down hard on those convicted of being responsible for the criminality during the riots. The UK's Prime Minster has also spoken that health and safety should not get in the way of morality.
The question of sentencing over the riots has come under the spotlight after two men were jailed for four years each for their part in inciting violence over social network site Facebook, Sky News reports.
The two men from Cheshire have been jailed for four years each for using Facebook to incite disorder during riots in England last week. Jordan Blackshaw, 21, of Vale Road, Marston and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Richmond Avenue, Warrington, were jailed at Chester Crown Court. The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, praised the swift actions of Cheshire Police, saying that he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent to others, the BBC reported Tuesday.
"The sentences passed down today recognise how technology can be abused to incite criminal activity and sends a strong message to potential troublemakers," said Phil Thompson, Cheshire Police Assistant Chief Constable.
"Anyone who seeks to undermine that will face the full force of the law," he added, speaking to Sky News.
But Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns for the Howard League, said: "The rush to send a message out is leading to some very bad sentences, which will be overturned on appeal.
"It will be a further drag on the court system, which is already struggling - and that's before considering the pressures on the prison system."
"It's understandable that the courts are being asked to treat the public disturbances as an aggravating factor," he went on to say.
"However, I think what's not being borne in mind is another key principle of the justice system - that of proportionality. Sentences should reflect the seriousness of the offence," he continued, the Independent revealed.
The government has told magistrates and judges that they must come down hard on those who are found guilty of criminality during the riots. Some are questioning why the state should be soft on people when they have done so much damage to their communities? The fact that a vast majority of the looters and rioters were actually destroying their own towns shows why sentences must be tougher, it can be argued.
Cameron has said that those who are responsible will feel the full force of the law, and for many years Britons have commented that sentences in the UK are too lenient. The pressures on both the courts and the jail systems should not be an excuse for allowing people who have caused such crimes to walk away free. The government is right to keep them in jail.
The acts of criminality that were witnessed on the streets on England last week horrified the vast majority of UK residents. London is not back to normal by any means, and the extra police on the streets have given people the additional security they needed in the immediate aftermath of the riots. It is unsustainable to keep that level of policing on the streets, therefore tougher sentencing, keeping people off the streets who have been convicted of these crimes could well give that security to people once the police presence fades away.
A change in sentencing attitude is what is needed. It is time for this government to make prison a deterrent once again. The rioters did what they did because they were not scared of what would happen to them. It is time to change that attitude, and this is just the first in a range of steps to prevent this happening again.