Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon writes regularly for the Guardian's Comment is Free blog and other team members regularly contribute articles for other publications, you can read them here.
The Prison Reform Trust has prepared a briefing (pdf) to assist Peers in the Report Stage (Day 1) debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is scheduled to take place on Monday 20 October.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is the fourth Ministry of Justice-led criminal justice bill introduced by the Coalition Government. Following a series of troubling HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Independent Monitoring Board reports and the Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick’s warning of a “political and policy failure” in prison policy, it is difficult to understand why the Government is introducing measures which will increase the size of the prison population, raise public costs and add significantly to the work of criminal justice agencies at a time when staff, resources and budgets are already overstretched. Many of the provisions involve significant transfers of powers to the Secretary of State, limiting the discretion of operational managers and reducing scope for effective Parliamentary scrutiny. Plans for a 300-place secure college, housing boys and girls aged 12-17, along with mandatory prison sentences for knife possession, could drive up the numbers of children in custody following a welcome period of decline both in youth imprisonment and youth crime.
The Prison Reform Trust has had letters published in two national broadsheets, the Guardian, about a recent IMB report on Wormwood Scrubs, and the Daily Telegraph about proposals to build the largest children's prison in Europe.
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