New director announced

Trustees of the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) are delighted to announce the appointment of its new director, Peter Dawson. Peter is currently deputy director of PRT and is only the third director to be appointed in the history of the organisation.

Peter has spent the majority of his career in government and the prison service. He was Governor of HMP Downview and HMP High Down between 2005 and 2012. Before joining PRT in 2015, Peter also worked in the private sector for Sodexo Justice Services.

Click here to read the full story.

step change at prt

 

As you will be aware, we were delighted to announce in January that James Timpson OBE is to chair PRT from tomorrow, 1st April 2016. We are pleased to tell you that our current chair, Lord Woolf, has kindly agreed to become honorary president of the Prison Reform Trust alongside Douglas Hurd.

I am also taking this opportunity to let friends know of my own plan to step down in the summer as director of PRT. In a measured transition for the charity, this will enable our new Chair and the Board of Trustees to choose a new director, the third in its history, to lead our excellent team and make a substantive contribution to the proposed new prison reform bill and forthcoming white paper. There is huge scope to build on recent achievements which we have helped to secure from reducing child imprisonment to developing services to divert people with mental health needs or a learning disability into the treatment and care they need.

I am tremendously grateful to have been given the opportunity, with your support, to lead such a good charity and to champion such a worthwhile cause. In over sixteen years there has been so much to learn from all those involved with and in prisons, about advocacy and the need to take a balanced, strategic approach, about the nature of critical friendship to a valued but beleaguered public service, about how to brook disappointment and how, hopefully without over-claiming, to celebrate the success of PRT with our partners and supporters.

Juliet has written an article for the Guardian about plan to step down, you can read it by clicking this link.

You can listen to a BBC profile of Juliet by clicking here and read her article in the Friend.

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The Prison Reform Trust is delighted to announce the winners of the 2014 writing competition, kindly supported by the Band Trust. 

The competition attracted a record 624 entries from men, women and children in prisons and the community. Judges included Rachel Billington OBE, Kingslee 'Akala' Daley, Erwin James, Michael Morpurgo OBE, Chris Mullin and Femi Oyeniran. Prizes were awarded in three categories for comment, short story and lyric/rap. 

The competition was covered in the Guardian online last week and in the Society Guardian today

Read the winning entries by clicking here.

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The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will have its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Monday 10 November. During the Report Stage debate the government introduced amendments into the Bill to create a new public function entitled “recall adjudicator”. This new body would carry out the review of whether determinate sentenced prisoners released on licence and subsequently recalled to prison should be re-released. The function is currently carried out by the Parole Board.
 
The Prison Reform Trust and JUSTICE share concerns regarding the practical operation of the recall adjudicator and the legal basis for the decision to create the role. We have prepared a joint briefing in support of Lord Woolf’s amendment to Clause 8 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to provide parliamentary oversight of arrangements for the recruitment, qualifications, training and costs of recall adjudicators.

Read a copy of the briefing here

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The British Medical Association have published a report on the vital role doctors have to play in preventing vulnerable children and young people ending up in custody
 
Young lives behind bars: The health and human rights of children and young people detained in the criminal justice system, sets out how doctors can recognise risk factors for future offending and seize the opportunity to intervene.

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A prison system built to hold young men is struggling to cope with the rapidly growing numbers of old, sick and disabled people behind bars, a new Prison Reform Trust report, supported by the Bromley Trust, reveals.

The report, launched at HMP Brixton today (Tuesday 28 October), comes the day before the Prisons Minister Andrew Selous MP is due to give evidence on older prisoners to the Justice Select Committee.

People aged 60 and over and those aged 50–59 are the first and second fastest growing age groups in the prison population. Between 2002 and 2014 there was an increase of 146% and 122% in the number of prisoners held in those age groups respectively. On 31 March 2014 there were 102 people in prison aged 80 and over. Five people in prison were 90 or older.

Ever-lengthening sentences mean people in prison are growing old and frail with high rates of unmet social care and support needs. Two in five (37%) of those over the age of 50 in prison have a disability.

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