Commenting on the government's announcement on tackling Islamic radicalisation in prisons, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
"The review proposed small units for a very few prisoners—and as a temporary expedient, not a permanent regime. The goal must be to get people back into the main prison community, so that changes in their behaviour can be observed. Anything else is just storing up an even more difficult problem for when they are eventually released.
"Faith is overwhelmingly a constructive force within prisons and the prison Imams who undertake this most challenging role deserve the Government's complete support—they are part of the solution not the problem. Sensible, proportionate measures to deal with a small minority of extremist prisoners who seek to undermine that work are welcome. But they will all rely on adequate resourcing - better trained staff can only use new skills if prisoners are unlocked and engaging with them."
Peter appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. You can listen to it by clicking here.
You can also read Peter's recent article in Counter Terror Business on how our justice system should respond to radicalisation by clicking here.
Entries for nominations for this year's Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation are now open.
The award, kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Weavers, is for outstanding rehabilitative work with prisoners done by a small charity or community group. It champions work that fosters personal responsibility. Robin Corbett had a developed interest in prisoners' education and people in prison 'learning through doing'.
The deadline for receiving nominations is 11 November 2016.
Click 'read more' for more details on the award and how to apply.
Commenting on the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s bulletin on prisoners with dementia, Peter Dawson, Incoming Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“This report highlights in distressing detail how imprisonment for many old, disabled people can amount to a double punishment. Prisoners are entitled to the same care in prison as they would receive in the community. They should not be subject to inhumane or degrading treatment due to a lack of preparedness by the prison service. The cross-party Justice Committee, the independent Prisons Inspectorate, and now the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, have called on the government urgently to develop a national strategy to deal with the rapidly growing numbers of elderly and infirm people behind bars. The new justice secretary should heed their advice.”
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) and the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) welcome today’s announcement (Tuesday 12 July 2016) of the Government’s commitment to roll out liaison and diversion services in police custody suites and criminal courts across England. At a Care not Custody coalition event in Parliament, Health Minister Alistair Burt MP announced a £12m investment in further roll out of liaison and diversion services. Subject to evaluation full roll out should be achieved by 2020.
Currently 50,000 people a year are assessed by liaison and diversion services following arrest, and almost 70% require mental health support. This vital new funding will extend NHS England liaison and diversion services from 50% population coverage to 75% by 2018.
This money will help people with mental ill health, learning disabilities or autism get the right care in the right place, supporting work between the police and the NHS.
Click 'read more' for the full story.