‘Prisons fail to make us safer in the long term’

 In Press

Make Justice Work in The Telegraph.

“The report from the Commons Justice Select Committee (Alisdair Palmer, Comment, January 17) underlined the unsustainable rise in prison numbers in Britain and the vicious circle of imprisonment and reoffending that this is perpetuating. Currently 66 per cent of sentences are for less than 12 months and the majority of those sentenced have committed non-violent, low-level crimes.

The Ministry of Justice has been tasked with finding £1.3 billion worth of cuts, yet, if the trend in imprisonment continues, new places to house these offenders will cost the taxpayer a further £3 billion.

Britain locks up more people than any other European democracy and the trends in our prison system now mirror those of America rather than our European neighbours. But even in America the harsh fiscal and social reality of locking such huge numbers of people up is hitting home. “Justice reinvestment” – redirecting money away from prisons to community-based programmes – is proving cost-effective in cutting reoffending. Britain must follow this lead.

The Ministry of Justice has several pilots and preliminary results are very positive, but it is only a start. The economic crisis has added a financial imperative to the moral one which has driven the need for reform.

Roma Hooper
Director, Make Justice Work
Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen
Lord Woolf
Former Lord Chief Justice
Lord Ramsbotham
Former Chief Inspector of Prisons
Humfrey Malins MP (Con)
Sir Charles Pollard
Former Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
Stephen Bubb
Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
Peter Tatchell
Lord Dear
Former HM Inspector of the Constabulary
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC
Martin Narey
Director, Bernardos
Stephen Bubb
Simon Woodroffe
CEO, YO! Company
Claudia Webbe
Chairman, Trident Independent Advisory Group
Harry Fletcher
Assistant General Secretary of NAPO
Neal Lawson
Chairman, Compass
Charles Fraser
Chief Executive, St Mungo’s
Rob Owen
Director, St Giles Trust
Dominic Williamson
Chief Executive, Revolving Doors
Debbie Scott
CEO, Tomorrow’s People
Ashley Walters.”

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