Latest news and publications

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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Jun30 30/06/2017 12:00:00 by alex


The number of women in prison in England and Wales has exceeded 4,000 for the first time in four-and-a-half years. Ministry of Justice figures released today show the female prison population currently stands at 4,007.

The latest edition of Prison: the facts (Bromley briefings summer 2017), published this month and covered exclusively on BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour, shows an increase of 200 women in prison in the past year has pushed the female prison population towards this significant watershed after years of gradual but sustained decline in the numbers of women behind bars. The briefing highlights facts and figures which show the beleaguered state of our overcrowded prison system and the men and women in its care.

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Jun29 29/06/2017 00:01:00 by alex

Commenting on today's National Audit Office report on mental health in prisons, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:
 
“This is a familiar tale of admirable policy objectives not being delivered on the ground. There is a ray of hope in the successful rollout of liaison and diversion schemes in courts and police stations that spot some of the people who are most vulnerable. But this report makes horribly clear that our prisons are holding very many people who will suffer disproportionate and unnecessary harm because of the prison environment. It is futile to expect to improve their situation while prisons are overcrowded and thousands of people are spending a few weeks inside each year simply because there is inadequate community provision. The government must grip the issue of who goes to prison so that the system can care properly for the minority who really need to be there.”

Read Peter's blog for Huffington Post by clicking here.

You can download a copy of the full report by clicking here.

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