Reforming bishop to head up prison monitoring group

Reforming bishop to head up prison monitoring group

By staff writers
21 Mar 2007

A network of prison monitoring groups is to be headed up by the Bishop of Worcester when he leaves his current post.

Dr Peter Selby's move will take place when he retires in September after 10 years in charge of his diocese.

He was appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as the Church of England 'Bishop to HM Prisons' in 2001, and will become the President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards in January 2008.

Dr Selby has spoken out firmly in favour of the retention of an independent inspectorate of prisons, forcing the government onto the back foot on the issue.

He is also an advocate of methods of restorative justice - which the Church of England has backed in a recent Synod report that he made a major contribution to, and he has been a critic of prison privatisation.

Peter Selby, a former research professor in practical theology at the Universities of Durham and Newcastle, said he had worked in prisons since 1965.

His first eucharist as Bishop of Worcester was at Long Lartin prison. The prisoners there sent him a wall-hanging.

He said that he had decided to take the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards job because he felt it was "a bullet with my name on it".

He added: "Although I wasn't actually looking for a retirement task at this stage I didn't really think I could say no to it."

Each prison has an independent monitoring board made up of ordinary members of the public whose role is to monitor the day-to-day life within the jail and ensure inmates are treated correctly.

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