The Prison Reform Trust has today published a briefing to assist MPs in the Second Reading Debate on the Crime and Courts Bill on Monday 14 January. Following discussions with MPs and the outcome of previous stages of the Bill, the briefing highlights key parts to Schedule 15 (Dealing non-custodially with offenders) as well as significant omissions in the Bill.
Commenting on new government plans for prison closures and building, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
"Closing prisons and reducing prison numbers offers major social and economic gains but it would be a gigantic mistake if the Justice Secretary were to revive the discredited idea of titans and pour taxpayers' money down the prison building drain, when the Coalition Government could invest in crime prevention, healthcare and community solutions to crime.
"Small community prisons tend to be safer and better at reducing reoffending than huge anonymous establishments.
"Prison is an important place of last resort for serious and violent offenders not, as it has become, a place to dump people who are mentally ill, those with learning disabilities, addicts and vulnerable women and children."
Plans to build three 2,500-capacity "Titan" jails by the previous government at a cost of £2.9 billion were scrapped in 2009 following representations by the Prison Reform Trust and allied organisations. Read our briefing here.
A new prison service instruction is set to improve sentencing planning for prisoners, especially for those serving an Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection (IPP) and for people who have a learning disability.
A YouGov opinion poll, released today by the Prison Reform Trust, reveals strong public support for effective community and public health measures to prevent crime and disorder.
The poll is launched ahead of the delayed announcement by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, confirmed today in Parliament for early in the New Year, which is expected to introduce radical changes to the probation service and the way in which community sentences are delivered.
Treatment for drug addiction, intensive supervision of community orders, and mental health care were the top three solutions to get public backing in the poll commissioned by the Prison Reform Trust.