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Entries for nominations for this year's Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation are now open.

The award, kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Weavers, is for outstanding rehabilitative work with prisoners done by a small charity or community group. It champions work that fosters personal responsibility. Robin Corbett had a developed interest in prisoners' education and people in prison 'learning through doing'.

The deadline for receiving nominations is 11 November 2016.

Click 'read more' for more details on the award and how to apply.

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Commenting on the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s bulletin on prisoners with dementia, Peter Dawson, Incoming Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: 

“This report highlights in distressing detail how imprisonment for many old, disabled people can amount to a double punishment. Prisoners are entitled to the same care in prison as they would receive in the community. They should not be subject to inhumane or degrading treatment due to a lack of preparedness by the prison service. The cross-party Justice Committee, the independent Prisons Inspectorate, and now the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, have called on the government urgently to develop a national strategy to deal with the rapidly growing numbers of elderly and infirm people behind bars. The new justice secretary should heed their advice.”

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Commenting, incoming director of the Prison Reform Trust, Peter Dawson said:

"This report shows the justice secretary where she must begin on prison reform. Making prisons safe for everyone who lives and works in them is the absolute priority and the necessary bedrock for longer term change. She must urgently solve the mismatch between the demand on the prison service and the resources available to meet it. Realistically, that means reducing the number of prisoners so that prisons can return to being places where staff and prisoners can rebuild the relationships on which security, safety and rehabilitation all depend."

Download a copy of the full report by clicking here.

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The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) and the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) welcome today’s announcement (Tuesday 12 July 2016) of the Government’s commitment to roll out liaison and diversion services in police custody suites and criminal courts across England. At a Care not Custody coalition event in Parliament, Health Minister Alistair Burt MP announced a £12m investment in further roll out of liaison and diversion services. Subject to evaluation full roll out should be achieved by 2020. 

Currently 50,000 people a year are assessed by liaison and diversion services following arrest, and almost 70% require mental health support. This vital new funding will extend NHS England liaison and diversion services from 50% population coverage to 75% by 2018.
 
This money will help people with mental ill health, learning disabilities or autism get the right care in the right place, supporting work between the police and the NHS.

Click 'read more' for the full story.

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Older people released from prison are being set up to fail by a lack of adequate provision to meet their health and social care needs, according to a report published today by the Prison Reform Trust and Restore Support Network.

Limited and inconsistent support to help sort out housing, employment, personal finances and debt, drug and alcohol dependence, and re-establish family relationships is also undermining the effective resettlement of older prisoners and increases the risk of future offending.

The report, Social care or systematic neglect?, calls for the creation of a cross-government national strategy for meeting the health, social and rehabilitative needs of older people in prison and on release in the community.

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Much greater clarity and transparency are needed in the prosecution of “joint enterprise” cases, a research report by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR) of Birkbeck, University of London, in partnership with the Prison Reform Trust, has found.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, aimed to find out how the doctrine was used in the prosecution of serious offences. 

Based on a detailed analysis of the sampled cases, the report says that there is an “urgent need” for greater clarity in the prosecution of joint enterprise cases.

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People serving an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) have one of the highest rates of self-harm in the prison system according to a new report published today (23 June) by the Prison Reform Trust.

Figures show that for every 1,000 people serving an IPP there were 550 incidents of self-harm. This compares with 324 incidents for people serving a determinate sentence, and is more than twice the rate for people serving life sentences. 

Click 'read more' for the full story.

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Trustees of the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) are delighted to announce the appointment of its new director, Peter Dawson. Peter is currently deputy director of PRT and is only the third director to be appointed in the history of the organisation.

Peter has spent the majority of his career in government and the prison service. He was Governor of HMP Downview and HMP High Down between 2005 and 2012. Before joining PRT in 2015, Peter also worked in the private sector for Sodexo Justice Services.

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Today the Prison Reform Trust publishes a proposal for the establishment of a women’s centre on the site of the existing visitors centre at HMP Holloway, which is due to close later this month.

On the 1 December 2015, Juliet Lyon wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice following his announcement of the closure of Holloway with a challenging proposal to work with strategic partners including MOPAC, Islington London Borough Council, NHS London, the Metropolitan Police, London Community Rehabilitation Company and women’s voluntary organisations to retain the HMP Holloway visitors centre (a purpose built space refurbished by the Tudor Trust) as a women’s centre.

To date the proposal has attracted both cross-party and pan-London support. In his response to PRT on the 16 December 2015, Secretary of State Michael Gove set out his commitment to reduce the women’s prison population and confirmed at a Justice Committee meeting on the 16 March 2016 that the proposal was ‘a good idea’ and was under consideration by the Ministry of Justice.

Click 'read more' for the full story.

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Tackling the legacy of the IPP

30/05/2016 17:36:00

This morning BBC Radio 4's Today programme examined the enduring legacy of the Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection. Nearly four years since its abolition, there are still over 4,000 people in prison serving this discredited sentence, unsure when or if they will ever be released. Four out of every five are still stuck behind bars despite having served their minimum term, no longer in prison for what they have done, but for what they might do.

The programme profiled case of James Ward, who in 2006 was given an IPP sentence with a ten month tariff, the time he must spend in prison. Ten years later he is still in prison and has no release date. You can listen to James' story by clicking here.

Prison Reform Trust director, Juliet Lyon, appeared on BBC Radio 4 to press for a case by case review for people stuck in prison on the IPP, unsure of when they will be released. Click here to listen to the interview on BBC Radio 4, and click here to listen to her interview on BBC 5 Live.

Today's welcome intervention by Ken Clarke, who abolished the sentence whilst justice secretary in 2012, and the admission by former Home Secretary David Blunkett that he regrets the injustices of the sentence, place further pressure on the government to address this injustice and outline a clear plan to confine the IPP to the history books once and for all.

Following correspondence and a meeting with the Justice Secretary, PRT noted that Michael Gove was considering how best to tackle the terrible legacy of this discredited sentence.

Click read more for further information about the IPP sentence.

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