Prisons in the Press – 1st MarchPosted: March 2, 2015
Prisons get political, stats spark controversy and a con-man escapes
Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.
Hot off the press
Statistics on the state of UK prisons sparked controversy this week. There were three major stories:
- Two-thirds of jailed drug offenders have had a string of previous convictions.
- The number of suicides in prisons has risen to its highest level for seven years. A government expert on suicide prevention was censored from making any connection to a 28 per cent fall in staffing levels since 2010.
- Patients detained in hospital psychiatric wards are up to five times more likely to suffer a preventable death than mentally ill prisoners.
Debated this week
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have started to pitch their ideas for prison reform ahead of the upcoming general election.
Labour’s shadow prisons minister, Jenny Chapman, has said she wants to focus on the structure of prison management and convincing more graduates to become prison officers. However, she remained unclear about the party’s stance on the role of the private sector.
Meanwhile, in a speech last Monday, Nick Clegg announced his frustrations at the rising prison population and issues of overcrowding. He wants to divert more people with drug and mental health problems away from the criminal justice system into care. You can read his full speech here.
In other news…
The press could not resist this real life Catch Me If You Can story after a man charged with conning corporations out of millions escaped from Wandsworth Prison after faking a letter saying he had been released on bail.
The security of prisons was further under scrutiny after an inspection into HMP Swansea found that drugs could be easily thrown over the prison walls.