UK 19 August 2011 The public favour disproportionate riot sentences 81 per cent of the public believe the punishments are either "about right" or "too soft". Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML As the prison sentences handed down to rioters come under attack from the Lib Dems and from some legal professionals, it's worth noting that the public, as ever, take a different view. A YouGov poll in today's Sun found that 81 per cent believe the punishments are either "about right" (49 per cent) or "too soft" (32 per cent). Asked about the absurd decision to jail Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan for four years for (unsuccessfully) inciting disorder on Facebook, 57 per cent said the sentence was "about right", 12 per cent said it was "too soft" and just 25 per cent said it was "too harsh". Then again, given that 33 per cent of the public supported the use of live ammunition on the rioters, the figures aren't as surprising as they may appear. It's hard to see David Cameron forcing Ken Clarke to sacrifice even more of his justice reforms but the coalition's plan to close 2,500 prisons is increasingly at odds with his "zero tolerance" rhetoric. The Justice Secretary, who has just resumed his holiday, will need all of his political guile to avoid another humiliating U-turn. In the meantime, it's worth noting that one of the most disproportionate sentences handed down last week - the jailing of a mother for five monthas for accepting a pair of looted shorts - has just been quashed by a judge. › For God and equality George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe More Related articles Labour must learn the secrets of the Scottish Conservatives What's going on in Northern Ireland? Hull revisited: What happens when a Brexit stronghold becomes City of Culture?