The Prison Reform Trust has prepared a briefing to assist MPs in the Report Stage (Day Two) debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill on Tuesday 17 June 2014.
The briefing focuses on New Clause 6 and New Clause 7. These new clauses would impose a mandatory jail sentence for a second conviction of carrying an offensive weapon or having an article with a blade or point in a public place or on school premises on children as young as 16.
Download a copy of the briefing by clicking here.
Commenting on the justice provisions announced in today’s Queen’s speech, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“At a time when prison numbers are rising and the prison service is struggling to cope with fewer staff and resources, worsening safety and reduced rehabilitation, it is difficult to understand why the government is proceeding with measures which will add significantly to the work of criminal justice agencies and increase the prison population. Rising levels of assault, suicide rates and self harm, less constructive activity and the destabilising impact of mean and petty rules on prisoners and their families call into question the government’s overall priorities and commitment to fairness and decency behind bars.
Read the full quote by clicking 'read more'
A new report by the Prison Reform Trust, supported by the Bromley Trust, shows a system under significant strain with fewer staff, worsening safety, and fewer opportunities for rehabilitation.
Unprecedented cuts to the Ministry of Justice budget, due to total £2.4bn by 2015-16 , are creating a race to the bottom in prison conditions and the warehousing of people in super-sized jails, according to the Prison Reform Trust’s new report Prison: the facts.
Letters and phone calls from prisoners reveal that, six months on from their introduction, new prison rules are undermining fairness and rehabilitation behind bars
Changes to prison rules introduced six months ago which include a ban on prisoners receiving books and other basic items are eliciting a strong sense of injustice in prisons and undermining opportunities for effective rehabilitation, a new briefing by the Prison Reform Trust reveals.
The Prison Reform Trust in partnership with leading thinktanks is providing platforms for the three main political parties to outline their justice proposals ahead of the 2015 general election. PRT believes there is scope for political consensus on prison reform. Parties wish to see decent, fair and purposeful prisons, a reduction in women's imprisonment, diversion and liaison services for people with mental health needs or learning disabilities and increased use of restorative justice.
You can read the first of these, ‘Prisons that work’, with Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice by clicking this link
Banning prisoners from receiving books in prison is just one of a number of mean and petty rules introduced by the secretary of state for justice that add to the stress and strain of imprisonment, while doing nothing to promote rehabilitation and personal responsibility.
Some older people have committed serious crimes and it is important that justice is done, whether or not someone is aged 18 or 80.
But imprisonment for many old, disabled people can amount to a double punishment.
People aged over 60 are now the fastest growing age group in prison in England and Wales. As of last summer there were over 10,000 people aged 50 and over in prison, representing 12% of the total prison population. Many of this group have additional support needs, but caring for wheelchair-bound, doubly incontinent, often demented people is beyond what can be reasonably expected of prison staff.
Supporting women at an early stage to help them address the causes of their offending would cut crime, reduce women’s prison numbers and save the taxpayer money, according to a new briefing launched today by the Prison Reform Trust.
Brighter Futures, supported by the Pilgrim Trust, profiles innovative approaches to reducing women’s offending and calls for the development of coordinated services that bring together police, health, women’s services and local authorities to help women turn their lives around.
The former Home Secretary David Blunkett’s welcome admission that the plight of some people affected by the introduction of the Kafkaesque Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) was on his conscience will be of little comfort to the 3,561 people in prison serving an IPP sentence held beyond their tariff expiry date.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is the fourth Ministry of Justice-led criminal justice bill introduced by the Coalition Government. The Prison Reform Trust is concerned that many of the provisions of the Bill are unnecessary and will increase the size of the prison population. They will raise public costs and add significantly to the work of criminal justice agencies in general, and the Parole Board in particular, at a time when 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 secure colleges could drive up the numbers of children in custody following a welcome period of decline both in youth imprisonment and youth crime. While education is vital, provision for children must take account of mental health needs, learning disabilities and difficulties, addictions and childhood abuse or neglect. This requires cooperation across government and not just another criminal justice-led response to tackling entrenched social problems.
Download a copy of our second reading briefing by clicking here.