Below is a statement from the director of the Prison Reform Trust Peter Dawson on the tragic events of last Friday at London Bridge. We have decided not to engage in further public debate so soon after this terrible incident.

“On Friday last week two of our colleagues at the Prison Reform Trust were attending the meeting at Fishmongers' Hall where two young lives were tragically lost. We understand the public interest in these events but our first concern is for the well-being of our workmates, which will be best served if their privacy is respected and they are given the time and space to come to terms with the traumatic events of last Friday.

“It is right that there should be a profound questioning of how the terrible events at London Bridge came about. But that will take time and detailed, dispassionate enquiry. All our experience shows us that policy decisions taken in the immediate aftermath of shocking events are likely to lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences. In criminal justice, those damaging consequences have sometimes lasted for many years, and done incalculable harm.

“At this early stage, we do not know all of the facts about Friday’s events and what led up to them. Attempting to draw conclusions in haste risks not only grave policy error, but also shows a lack of respect for those who have suffered most.

“We will continue to work with any government, as we have always done, to identify ways in which the criminal justice system can better meet all of its objectives. Those objectives include both the protection of the public and a just and proportionate response to those who cause harm, sometimes of the most terrible kind. But it is too soon to draw conclusions from the tragedy which unfolded last Friday, and we urge restraint on all those who seek to do so.”

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The Prison Reform Trust, along with 15 other criminal justice organisations, has co-signed a letter to the leaders of the Brexit Party, Conservative Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and Scottish National Party.

The letter, calls on all party leaders to temper their language in regard to law and order so that sensitive issues of intense public concern are not exploited but are used to contribute to a reasoned and constructive public debate.

You can read a copy of the full letter by clicking 'read more'

Photo credit: Andy Aitchison

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The families of people serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences are not getting enough help to deal with the painful burden of supporting their relative through their sentence, a joint report by the Prison Reform Trust and Southampton University reveals.

The IPP was abolished in 2012, but there are still 2,223 people in prison serving the sentence, nine in 10 of whom are passed their tariff expiry date. A further 1,206 people are in prison having been recalled while serving an IPP sentence in the community. The latest Ministry of Justice statistics show that the recall rate now exceeds the rate of release for people serving IPPs.

A Helping Hand: Supporting Families in the Resettlement of People Serving IPPs, found that the pains and barriers faced by the families of people serving IPP sentences have not sufficiently been addressed by criminal justice agencies.

One family member, quoted in the report said “As a family it has destroyed us, and we need all the support we can get."

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Photo credit: Andy Aitchison

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National penal reform charity, the Prison Reform Trust, has been awarded £2.6 million in National Lottery funding to develop new approaches to long-term imprisonment.

The new grant from The National Lottery Community Fund—the largest funder of community activity in the UK—will support the Building Futures Programme, which will be delivered by the Prison Reform Trust over five years.

The Building Futures Programme aims to create solutions and shape a prison environment that is safe, humane and encourages accountability and responsibility, ultimately creating the conditions for rehabilitation and reintegration into communities. The project will inform both policy and practice across the UK, particularly around reducing reoffending and promoting community cohesion.

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Photo credit: Andy Aitchison

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