The Conservatives want to impose tougher sentences on criminals who refuse to meet their victims, even if the criminal has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. Justice minister Crispin Blunt (pictured) told a fringe meeting at the Tory party conference in Manchester today that he wants to expand the restorative justice campaign within this parliament. Blunt argued that victims had a right to meet offenders and indicated November’s policy announcement is likely to include measures to force that to happen. He said: ‘I would want to get a system where, if the offender has pleaded guilty but is not minded to provide accountability to the victim, then frankly that ought to have some level of consequences and it should be understood as part of statements made for sentencing that the attitude of the offender is an issue. ‘We will have more to say about that in our forthcoming strategy. You can’t force anyone to take part but there should be consequences if the offender decides not to. There are limits legally to what obligations you can put on people; the difficulty will be making a legal framework.’ Blunt also outlined plans to encourage businesses to open in prisons, with the proceeds split between the private investor and victims. He said he was ‘convinced’ he could persuade companies to open inside prisons, with extra security and training costs offset by savings in employee salaries.