Commenting on HM Inspectorate of Prisons report on HMP Pentonville, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
"Despite some welcome improvements, this report is one in a long line of inspectorate reports into large, local Victorian jails which show that the pressures of coping with shrinking budgets and rising prison numbers are turning parts of our prison estate into human warehouses, with staff who are hard pressed to provide purposeful activity, education and employment or meet even the basic needs of such a vulnerable and needy population."
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.
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.
Soroptimist (UK), in partnership with the Prison Reform Trust, will today (Wednesday 15th May 2013) launch an action pack at a reception at the Pierhead in Cardiff to support their initiative to reduce women’s imprisonment across the UK.
More than eight out of ten of sentenced women entering prison have been convicted of non-violent offences. Many have young children. Many have themselves been the victims of serious crime, including domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape.
Commenting on the government’s plans announced in the Queen’s Speech to extend probation supervision to short sentenced prisoners, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“According to government figures, community sentences are better at cutting reoffending than a short spell behind bars. So, rather than use prison as a gateway to rehabilitation for over 50,000 petty offenders, the Justice Secretary should ensure that cost effective, robust community penalties are available to all courts in England and Wales.
“For those whose offending is so serious to warrant up to a year in custody, then supervision, support and drug treatment on release make some sense. There is a downside: a year of demands and an inflexible approach to breach of license conditions could refill our prisons and spin people through the revolving door of prison and crime.”
“Payment by results is untried and untested in the criminal justice system. Reform should be properly thought through and based on evidence of what works. The government should build on best practice rather than risk fragmenting the probation service and undermining the vital role played by small voluntary organisations in the delivery of services for vulnerable offenders. Is it wise to widen the ambit of the criminal justice industry when many of the solutions to crime lie in prevention, housing, employment, mental health and social care and treatment for addictions?”
Click read more to read our submissions to the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation.
ICM survey results offer massive vote of support for community payback and restorative justice.
The results of an ICM telephone poll of 1,000 members of the public, conducted one month after the riots in England, show overwhelming popular support for constructive ways in which offenders can make amends to victims for the harm they have caused.
The number of children imprisoned in England and Wales has fallen from about 3000 in the first half of 2008 to around 2000 three years later. This significant fall has happened in parallel with a rise in the adult prison population, and despite any major legislative changes. The reduction in youth custody has occurred without an increase in youth crime. In Last resort? Exploring the reduction in child imprisonment 2008-11 Rob Allen analyses why this has happened.
Community penalties are now outperforming short prison sentences, according to statistics released today from the latest edition of the Prison Reform Trust’s Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile. If government succeeds in reforming the justice system, building on the success of community measures including diversion into health treatment where appropriate, and holding prison numbers to an unavoidable minimum, it could deliver on its promise of a “rehabilitation revolution”.