Magistrates in Warwickshire are less likely to send criminals to prison than their counterparts elsewhere in the country, new figures show.
Courts in the county imposed immediate custodial sentences in only 1.5 per cent of the cases they heard in 2011 – one of the lowest rates in England and Wales.
The national average in 2011 was 3.8 per cent. The figure in neighbouring Northamptonshire was 6.2 per cent.
Magistrates’ courts in Warwickshire handed down 11,097 sentences to men, women and children during 2011, of which 162 were custodial.
The county’s figure has been welcomed by the Howard League for Penal Reform, which commissioned the survey.
Chief executive Frances Crook said: “It is pleasing to see that magistrates’ courts are sending fewer people to prison overall than they have in the past. The figures for show what can be achieved and provide a good example.”