The consultation period for the sentencing review and IPP sentences introduced by the Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has now concluded.
Everybody will now wait with bated breath to discover what the conclusions of the review are. However, for the government this review is full of major difficulties, not least the fact that whatever they do and whatever they decide is certain to make somebody very unhappy.
If Ken Clarke achieves his objective of reducing the prison population that would upset victims groups and the tabloid newspapers; it may also encourage criticism of the government for being "soft" on crime.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron has already announced that the policy on CRB checks is to be reviewed. Once again, any softening of the regulations currently in force would invite criticism from children's charities and victims groups, not to mention the parliamentary opposition.
The most difficult decisions however will be reserved for the subject of IPP sentences, the nightmare originally created by New Labour and which is promising to be the most contentious issue of all when it comes to reforming the criminal justice system.
So what exactly can we expect from Mister Clarke's review? Another interesting question might be as to when we can expect the results from the review. Certainly, TheOpinionSite.org does not imagine for one moment that this government or indeed any other government will be in any hurry to announce its decisions.
Nevertheless, we can make some educated guesses as to exactly what may be contained in the revisions when they are finally announced. We must point out that this is an educated guess but it is nevertheless a guess. The whole idea of reviewing anything to do with crime and criminal policy is laden with difficulties and dangers for any political party, let alone a dodgy coalition.
It is likely that the IPP sentence will not be abolished despite many calls for it to be removed from the Statute Book. The Prison Reform trust, NACRO and countless other bodies and individuals together with judges and even some politicians have all voiced doubts and displeasure at what is probably the most badly drafted and badly thought-out piece of criminal legislation ever introduced into the United Kingdom.
The problem for the government however is that whatever they do with IPP sentences, someone is bound to complain. Rupert Murdoch and his media empire are just waiting to pounce on the government and accuse them of being soft when it comes to dealing with serious criminals. The bloodlust of the tabloid newspapers in the UK is astonishing when it comes to removing any hope of release and rehabilitation from those locked up in British jails.
In 2008 the restrictions on judicial discretion when handing down IPP sentences were changed to ensure that if the minimum to be served was less than two years, an IPP sentence could not be passed.
Whilst this was a good idea at the time it actually was made very little difference to the numbers of people who are serving IPP sentences and it has made no difference whatsoever to the plight of those who are up to six years past their minimum tariff.
The argument over CRB checks is likely to go on and on regardless of what measures may be contained in any revisions put forward by the government. There is little doubt that the restrictions and requirements will be relaxed to a certain extent but the government will still not deal with the subject of "hidden evidence" which is the most damaging element of all when deciding whether or not somebody should be allowed to work with children or vulnerable adults.
Matters are made considerably worse for the government by the fact that they still have to deal with court rulings from both the European Court of Human Rights and from the British Supreme Court regarding the voting rights of prisoners and the right of sex offenders to have their names removed from the sex offenders register.
Once again, the government seems in no hurry to announce its decisions on these highly controversial issues. (There is much more on this in our FREE Subscribers Magazine available HERE)
It may even be that the government tries to keep its decisions on IPP sentences quiet or it may attempt to bury the decisions on a day when other news is likely to supersede it. This tactic is unlikely to work however as there are plenty of people sitting around just waiting for the government to bury itself in one of the deepest holes it has ever had the misfortune to dig.
For those serving IPP sentences and for others who are still unemployed as a result of an unfavorable CRB check TheOpinionSite.org suggest that they sit quietly and wait and see what happens for it is certain that changes will be made.
The unfortunate thing is that these changes to IPP sentences and CRB checks may take a long time to be announced and even longer to be implemented.