With the publication of a highly critical HM Inspectorate of Prisons report on HMP Hewell today (18 November), following several deeply disturbing reports from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, there is now mounting evidence of an unfolding crisis in our prison system. Commenting, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“Drastic staff and budget cuts combined with rushed policy decisions have left many prisons struggling to deliver even basic standards of safety, decency and rehabilitation. A rising tide of violence, self-harm and self-inflicted deaths reflect growing frustration and despair among prisoners. Parliament must act urgently to hold Ministers to account for the degradation of an essential public service."
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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.
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