Prisons in Parliament

Prisons to have “new and unremitting emphasis on rehabilitation and redemption” says Gove

HMP Shepton Mallet. Opened in 1625 was closed in 2013. At the time the oldest prison still operating in England and Wales.

Prisons in Parliament brings you up-to-date on the last week of politics and prisons. What’s been said? And by whom? Get it all here. 

Prison governors: who is accountable?

Andrew Rosindell (Conservative) asked Michael Gove what his policy is on the level of autonomy provided to prison governors.

Michael Gove said:

I believe that prisons need a new and unremitting emphasis on rehabilitation and redemption. The best way to secure that is to give greater freedoms to prison governors. I would like to give governors more flexibility in managing their budgets and overseeing work and education in custody. With greater freedom must come sharper accountability, so that governors are held to account for their prison’s performance.

Employment for ex-offenders

Seema Kennedy (Conservative) asked what plans there were to encourage more businesses to employ ex-offenders

Andrew Selous (Under secretary of state for justice) said

In the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending, we have around 200 employers who are positive about employing ex-offenders… Community rehabilitation companies should play an important role in making links with businesses locally to help ex-offenders to get jobs.

Plans for the prison estate

Stephan Metcalfe (Conservative) asked what plans there were to improve the prison estate.

Andrew Selous said

Our current prison estate is overcrowded and out of date. We will close ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons and replace them with buildings fit for today’s demands. We will invest the money raised in a high-quality, modern prison estate, with facilities for training and rehabilitation, and where the dark corners that facilitate bullying, drug taking and violence can increasingly be designed out.

Transgender treatment in the criminal justice system

Lord Marks of Henley on Thames asked what the current policy on the treatment of transgender individuals is in the criminal justice system.

Lord Faulks said

Prisoners are normally placed according to their “legally recognised gender”. The guidelines allow, however, some room for discretion and in such cases senior prison management will review the circumstances with relevant experts to protect the prisoner’s safety and well-being, and those of other prisoners.

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