Prisons in the press – 15th May

Cabinet office shake up, time for prisons to wake up?


We were surprised too… Michael Gove, new Justice Secretary

Election fever fades away but politics are never far from prisons. A new justice secretary is on the scene this week yet the same old stories are hitting the headlines. Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.

Michael Gove announced as new Justice Secretary

The big story this week, Michael Gove former Chief Whip, has been announced as justice secretary in the cabinet reshuffle. The Guardian takes a look at what’s in store for him.


Writing as a Times columnist in 1998 he called for the return of the hangman’s noose but more recently he has made a name for himself in education. Who is the new man at the helm?

First elected to Parliament in 2005, he was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet in 2007 as Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. After the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010, Mr Gove was appointed education secretary. In 2014 he was ‘demoted’ to Chief Whip.

Here are just some of his education reforms:

  • Scrapping national pay frameworks for teachers and introducing performance-related pay
  • Ending the requirement for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in academies and free schools
  • Sustainability dropped from primary school curriculum
  • League tables now reflect the results of pupils’ first attempt at an exam

Under Mr Gove 40 per cent of teachers left the profession after their first five years. At its 2013 conference, Gove was criticised by the National Association of Head Teachers, whose members condemned “the climate of bullying, fear and intimidation” they said he had created during his time as education secretary. The conference passed a vote of no confidence in his policies.

Justice is one of the unprotected departments in the Conservative’s budget. With a rising prison population and spending cuts imminent, jails are likely to be hit hard. The new justice secretary no doubt will have some more unpopular decisions to make.

Rising assaults against prison wardens

Prison staff at La Moye prison, Jersey, have been calling for more support this week against violent offenders. The Jersey Evening Post has the story.


Prisoofficer numbers were cut by 30 per cent cut between 2010-13 according to Howard League for Penal Reform. There was one officer per 2.9 prisoners in 2000, but by September 2013 this had increased to 4.8 prisoners per officer. Read our post here for a full run down.

A Conservative majority – what does it mean for prisons?

A change in Justice Secretary isn’t all that’s in store. We brought you a full run down of Conservative policy and pledges this week. Read here about what the new government has to say about crime, sentencing and prisons.

We’ll be back next week with more from prisons in the press.

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