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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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A requirement that the particular needs of women offenders must be addressed in the provision of supervision and rehabilitation services is now included in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and will be given the force of law when enacted.

The Offender Rehabilitation Bill was amended by the Government during the House of Lords third reading yesterday (9 July 2013) to require the Secretary of State to ensure that arrangements for supervision and rehabilitation services comply with the public sector equality duty “as it relates to female offenders”.  This will apply to public, private, and voluntary sector providers of offender services.

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As the Justice Secretary announces 70 resettlement prisons, briefing finds budget cuts and overcrowding are leading to less purposeful activity, reduced regimes and more time in cell.

Massive cuts in prison staff and budgets are placing overcrowded prisons in England and Wales under unprecedented strain and undermining government plans to transform rehabilitation, the Prison Reform Trust's new iPad app Prison: The Facts, Bromley Briefings Online, reveals.

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Women and alternative sentencing

24/06/2013 14:25:00

Jenny Earle, director of PRT’s Programme to Reduce Women’s Imprisonment, took part in a panel discussion on Woman’s Hour which broadcast a special programme examining alternatives to prison for low-risk women offenders on Wednesday 19 June.

The programme featured moving accounts from women who have received support from Anawim women’s centre in Birmingham, and the panel included Joy Doal of Anawim and Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Justice Select Committee. The Minister Helen Grant MP was also interviewed and expressed her support for community sentences and the work of women’s centres.

You can listen to the show here

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The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said better community alternatives to women’s imprisonment are a priority in the Scottish Government’s plans to reform women’s justice.

Speaking ahead of a reception in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (Wednesday) to mark the initiative by the Soroptimists and the Prison Reform Trust to reduce women’s imprisonment across the UK and to publicise their action pack, he said:

“Reducing reoffending, improving the circumstances of women in prison and seeking better community-based alternatives to imprisonment for women continue to be priorities for the Scottish Government  – indeed, that’s why we established the Commission on Women Offenders.”

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