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PrisonWorks, a volunteer-led charity based in the Isle of Man prison at Jurby which provides restorative programmes for prisoners to help them address the consequences of their actions, has won the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation 2014. The award is kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Weavers.

The runner up prize was awarded to The Forgiveness Project for its preparatory restorative justice work undertaken as part of its national RESTORE programme at HMP-YOI Parc in Wales.

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Commenting on the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

“This report reveals that at every turn people with learning disabilities caught up in the justice system are being let down by a failure to recognise and meet their needs. Often vulnerable and isolated, people with learning disabilities are getting little or no help to understand and navigate a scary and incomprehensible world of police stations and courts."

Click read more to see our full comment.

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A letter from the Care not Custody Coalition published in the Guardian on Friday January 10 2014 welcomed the government's announcement launching a trial scheme posting mental health nurses in police stations in 10 areas in England. However the coalition urged the government to stick to its new deadline of national delivery by 2017, three years later than originally planned.

Click the link below to read the letter and find out more about the Care not Custody Coalition.

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Bah humbug behind bars

20/12/2013 00:01:00

Petty prison post ban will mean a lonelier Christmas for thousands of people in prison.

For the first time this Christmas, people in prison will not be able to receive parcels from their loved ones under petty and mean new rules introduced by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

The new rules, which forbid prisoners from receiving any items in the post unless there are exceptional circumstances, were introduced in November as part of the government’s changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme.

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Commenting on the announcement by the Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill Committee, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"The European Court of Human Rights, the Attorney General, and now the Bill Committee have all declared that the automatic and indiscriminate ban on all convicted prisoners voting is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Today's announcement marks an important step forward in a dispiriting process that has dragged on for over eight years.

"Most people accept that it is important to make the punishment fit the crime so it is only regrettable that the Committee has recommended retaining an automatic ban for prisoners serving sentences of more than 12 months, regardless of their particular offence, rather than extend the franchise further with certain exceptions, for example in cases of electoral fraud.

Click 'read more' to see our full response to the Committee's findings.

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Nearly half of people in prison in England and Wales could be warehoused in 1,000-plus supersized jails under government plans to transform the prison estate, the latest edition of the Prison Reform Trust's Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile reveals.

A shorter summary version, Prison: The Facts, is available for iPad and iPhone on the App Store and for Android devices via Google Play.

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Secure, controlled access to computers and the internet can transform education, family contact and resettlement in prisons and reduce reoffending on release, according to a new joint report launched today by the Prison Reform Trust and Prisoners Education Trust.

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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.

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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."

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Prisons shake-up

04/09/2013 13:51:00

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."

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