David Cameron on prisons in speech to Conservative Party Conference 2015 – full text

Everything the prime minister said about jails in his party speech

David Cameron Conservative Party conference speech 2015

Cameron tackled reoffending, sentencing and mental health

David Cameron dedicated almost two minutes of his 55 minute address to the Conservative party conference today, bookmarked for you below.

Here’s a full transcript of David Cameron’s comments on prisons and justice during his speech to the Conservative party conference:

[37:44] “There’s another service run by the state that all too often fails and entrenches poverty. It’s called prison.

Now I believe if you’ve committed a crime, punishment must follow. And when it’s serious enough, that punishment must mean prison.

Let’s not forget, since we came to office, crime is down by a quarter.

But the system is still not working. Half of criminals offend within a year of being released.

Nearly half go into prison with no qualifications and many come out with none either.

And all the problems that may have led them to that life – the drug addiction, the mental health problems, the childhood abuse – remain unchanged.

We have got to get away from the sterile ‘lock-em-up or let-em-out’ debate, and get smart about this.

When prisoners are in jail, we have their full attention for months at a time – so let’s treat their problems, educate them, put them to work.

When we restrict someone’s freedom outside prison, we can make sure they’re working and paying taxes, rather than spending £30,000 a year keeping them in a cell – so where it makes sense, let’s use electronic tags to help keep us safe and help people go clean.

And when our prisons are relics from the time of Dickens – it is time to sell them off and build new ones that actually work.

This is going to be a big area of social reform in the next five years. And I have just the man for the job.

The man who takes on every vested interest and gives everyone a chance. The man who began the great transformation of our education system and is now going to do the same for prisons.

Yes, the great Conservative reformer, Michael Gove.” 37:44

Read our analysis of Cameron’s speech



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