Tough crime policy limits rehabilitation work, Nacro warns

Charities that run community projects for ex-offenders could face uncertain futures if Michael Howard's "zero tolerance" to crime is adopted, Paul Cavadino, the chief executive of crime reduction charity Nacro, has warned.

The Conservative leader pledged last week to build more jails and increase prison sentences.

"The biggest risk of a hardline approach is the diversion of resources away from the constructive rehabilitation of offenders to an expansion of the prison system," said Cavadino.

After Labour also unveiled new measures to strengthen police officers' powers last week, Murray Benham, head of policy and communications at Revolving Doors, a charity for offenders with mental health problems, said the two main parties seemed to be "trying to outbid each other on who can be the most punitive on crime".

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