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Read our comment on today's prison building announcement

  • Commenting on today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice that 5,000 new prison places are to be built, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

     

    “This massive investment in new prisons is not matched by a credible plan to reduce our reckless overuse of prison in the first place.

  • Commenting, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

    “It is 65 years since it last happened, so the publication of a Prisons Bill is obviously an important moment.

  • Overuse of custody is undermining government reforms for women in trouble with the law Scotland has one of the highest rates of women’s imprisonment in northern Europe, a new report published today (8 March) on international women’s day by the Prison Reform Trust reveals.
  • PRT comment on the prisons and courts bill

    Commenting on the prisons and courts bill, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

    “A statutory commitment to a system that rehabilitates is crucial to building safer communities.

  • Addressing overcrowding must be at the heart of government plans for prison reform Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, has responded to the Justice Secretary Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss’s speech on prison reform to the Centre for Social Justice with a letter published today in The Times newspaper.

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice that 5,000 new prison places are to be built, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: “This massive investment in new prisons is not matched by a credible plan to reduce our reckless overuse of prison in the first place. The prison estate certainly needs an overhaul, but reducing demand would mean closing prisons, not opening them. The government has admitted that it has no idea when overcrowding will cease, and this announcement takes us no closer to an answer to that crucial question. “To ensure effective parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s plans for prison reform, we urgently need to see a comprehensive plan for the whole prison estate—showing how demand will be reduced and closing prisons we no longer need as a result. It should include when overcrowding will end, how far prisoners’ families will be expected to travel for visits, and when every prison will be equipped to the same modern standard to do the same job of rehabilitation.”

@PRTuk: Read our comment on today’s prison building announcement

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Justice that 5,000 new prison places are to be built, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This massive investment in new prisons is not matched by a credible plan to reduce our reckless overuse of prison in the first place. The prison estate certainly needs an overhaul, but reducing demand would mean closing prisons, not opening them. The government has admitted that it has no idea when overcrowding will cease, and this announcement takes us no closer to an answer to that crucial question.

“To ensure effective parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s plans for prison reform, we urgently need to see a comprehensive plan for the whole prison estate—showing how demand will be reduced and closing prisons we no longer need as a result. It should include when overcrowding will end, how far prisoners’ families will be expected to travel for visits, and when every prison will be equipped to the same modern standard to do the same job of rehabilitation.”

“It is 65 years since it last happened, so the publication of a Prisons Bill is obviously an important moment. There is plenty to welcome—especially a statutory commitment to rehabilitation. But the Bill is also notable for what it does not contain—for example, nothing to control the demand for prison and no mention of decency or justice as the foundations of a rehabilitative system. 

“We will do everything we can to help parliament turn this bill into a genuinely reforming Act, making sure that: the purposes of prison are comprehensive; a mechanism exists to translate those purposes into standards approved by parliament and in line with our international obligations; and the institutions that hold the Secretary of State to account are properly independent of her and her department.”

Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, has responded to the Justice Secretary Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss’s speech on prison reform to the Centre for Social Justice with a letter published today in The Times newspaper.

Sir, Your leader hits a whole series of nails on their heads. Setting arbitrary limits on the prison population is not the issue. Eliminating overcrowding is. It represents the corrosion at the heart of our prisons, undermining decency, safety and rehabilitation. And no government in living memory has made a dent in it, probably because none has thought it worth having a strategy to do so.

Among all the many aspirations to emerge since the crisis in our prisons was finally acknowledged by Michael Gove and now Liz Truss, there is an echoing void where a timetabled plan to eliminate overcrowding should be. In the short term, the pressure can eased by not sending people to prison who need help not punishment, preventing the recall of people to prison on technical grounds, and by reversing the decline in early release on electronic tags. Longer term, we need to rethink how we punish more serious crime, restoring discretion to the courts and hope to the prisoners whose lives we seek to change.

Prison Reform Trust > Press & Policy > News

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