Latest news and publications

Aug15 15/08/2017 11:05:00 by alex

The Prison Reform Trust’s Head of Policy and Communications, Mark Day, yesterday took part in a discussion on the BBC Two Victoria Derbyshire programme on the damaging legacy of the Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP). The BBC’s story, which was also covered by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, considered the case of James Ward, who in 2006 was given an IPP sentence with a 10-month tariff, but who 11 years later remains in custody. Commenting on the Today programme, the Chair of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, urged the government to “get a grip” on the issue by bringing forward measures to expedite the release of the remaining post-tariff IPP prisoners.

You can watch the feature on the Victoria Derbyshire programme here [starts 16.10]

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Jul27 27/07/2017 10:26:00 by alex

Commenting on today's (27 July) publication of safety in custody statistics by the Ministry of Justice, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“These numbers confirm what the Chief Inspector of Prisons has described in graphic detail—that our prison system is nowhere near being safe for those who live and work within it. The appalling loss of life and toll of despair requires something more immediate than the promise of more staff and new prisons. In the short term, the provision of much cheaper and easier access to a legitimate phone system would make a day to day difference—and provide some consolation to the families of prisoners wondering if their loved ones are safe inside.”

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Jul26 26/07/2017 00:01:00 by alex

Commenting on the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland's thematic inspection on older prisoners, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

"This report highlights the challenges of providing effective care and a constructive regime for an increasingly elderly and frail prison population. It is a challenge which the Scottish prison service cannot meet on its own. Prison staff should not be expected to do the jobs of nurses and care providers. A comprehensive strategy is needed to ensure health, social care and criminal justice agencies work together to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of people growing old behind bars."

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Jul18 18/07/2017 11:28:00 by alex

Commenting on the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons' Annual Report 2016–17, published today, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:
 
“The Chief Inspector of Prisons could not put it any more clearly—political rhetoric on prison reform counts for nothing when so many prisons lack the most basic elements of a civilised way of life for either prisoners or staff. A dramatic reduction in staffing numbers prompted this crisis, but its solution lies in a similarly dramatic change in the way we use prison. Ending the use of pointless short sentences and needless recalls would ease pressure quickly on the worst affected prisons. But a timetabled plan to end overcrowding, reserving prison to only the most serious offences, and for periods that punish without destroying hope, is essential to achieving a permanent improvement in the longer term.”

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Jun30 30/06/2017 16:50:00 by alex

Commenting on the findings of the Ministry of Justice's evaluation of the Sex Offender Treatment Programme, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"The results of an evaluation into sex offender treatment programmes published today are disappointing, but they do not mean that a whole group of people have been made more dangerous by doing the courses involved. The reoffending rate for sexual offending is much lower than for most other offences, and the rise in the reoffending rate for the whole cohort is from 8% to 10% (for sexual reoffending) measured over 8 years. The great majority of people released after serving a long sentence for sexual offending are not being convicted of further sexual offences.

"Decisions on whether to release people convicted of sex offences and how to manage them safely in the community depend on a wide range of factors, including the support available to them. Completing a particular course has only ever contributed to that judgement. That remains true.

"The range of courses available has already been adjusted to take account of these findings, but it is very important that individual prisoners are not disadvantaged because they voluntarily took part in the previous courses. In fact, their willingness to undergo lengthy and challenging courses, and the skills learned, should count in their favour, as just one factor amongst many in assessing risk and preparing for release."

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