People with learning disabilities and difficulties in the justice system are not getting equal access to the law or support to successfully complete prison or community sentences because information presented to them is not made accessible.
At a meeting in the House of Lords today (Tuesday 22 October) organised by the charity KeyRing Living Support Networks working with the Prison Reform Trust, former prisoners and people working in the justice system will demonstrate good practice and call for an expansion in the use of Easy Read materials.
Responding to the Justice Committee report into older people in prison, the Prison Reform Trust called for a national strategy across justice and health to address the rapidly growing numbers of older people behind bars. Commenting, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
"Imprisonment of old, disabled people amounts to a double punishment. Caring for wheelchair-bound, doubly incontinent, often demented people is beyond what we can reasonably expect of prison staff. Solutions lie not in adapting totally unsuitable, outdated prison accommodation but in secure homes for the elderly, family and community support and the proper engagement of social care services."
Commenting on today's government announcement on prison building and closures, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
"Closing small local prisons and replacing them with supersized jails will not reduce crime or make communities safer. You can and should modernise the prison system without throwing taxpayers' money down the prison-building drain. The millions secured for new-build prisons could be more effectively spent on robust community service, treatment for addicts and care for people who are mentally ill."
A requirement that the particular needs of women offenders must be addressed in the provision of supervision and rehabilitation services is now included in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and will be given the force of law when enacted.
The Offender Rehabilitation Bill was amended by the Government during the House of Lords third reading yesterday (9 July 2013) to require the Secretary of State to ensure that arrangements for supervision and rehabilitation services comply with the public sector equality duty “as it relates to female offenders”. This will apply to public, private, and voluntary sector providers of offender services.