Prison reformers respond to Inspector's annual report

By agency reporter
July 13, 2018

Commenting on the Annual Report published by HM Chief Inspectorate of Prisons, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “The findings of this report put Britain to shame. We should not tolerate a situation in a civilised society where thousands of prisoners are forced to share cells designed for one, eating their meals next to an unscreened toilet; where violence and self-harm have risen exponentially ; and where a fifth of prisoners spend less than two hours a day out of their cell.

“The heart of the problem is that we use prison too much. Solving that means reserving custody for only the most serious and violent offenders. Ministers have rightly said they want to follow the evidence and stop the pointless use of futile short prison sentences for less serious crime. They now need to back that up with statutory and operational measures that will deliver the change they want to see.”

Also commenting on the report, Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “No public service in England and Wales has deteriorated as rapidly and as profoundly in recent years as the prison system.

“This excoriating report is yet another reminder of the scale of the chaos in overcrowded and under-resourced jails that are failing everyone. The Chief Inspector’s warnings must not be allowed to fall on deaf ears, and what matters now is how the government responds.

“The prison population is falling, and ministers have rightly indicated that they want to see fewer short prison sentences being imposed. Scrapping plans to build more prisons for women is another step in the right direction.

“But the corner will not be turned unless ministers take further action to reduce demand on the system, protect staff and save lives. Building more prisons for men will only lead to more prisoners, more problems and more crime.”

* More from Ekklesia on HM Inspectorate of Prisons Annual Report http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/26319

* Prison Reform Trust http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/

* Howard League for Penal Reform https://howardleague.org/

[Ekk/6]

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