The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has introduced new comprehensive rules on drug offences. The guidelines cover the following offences: importation, supply, production, permitting premises to be used, and possession.
The Sentencing Council's role is to provide judges and magistrates with a set of broad guidelines so that sentencing is more consistent across England and Wales.
These guidelines recommend that those who have been exploited or forced to be a 'drug mule' will receive a more lenient sentence. During their research, the Sentencing Council discovered that most women convicted of drug trafficking had either been unaware that they were transporting drugs or were forced in to it for fear of what would happen to them if they did not.
However the Sentencing Council confirmed that large scale drug producers and those found guilty of large scale involvement in the drugs trade will receive longer prison sentences.
The new guidelines came into effect from February 27th, 2012 for all offenders aged 18 or over.