Prisons in Parliament

Indefinite sentencing and provision for religion under scrutiny this week

Religious provision in prison comes under scrutiny

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. 

Imprisonment for Public Protection sentences

How many of those still serving Imprisonment for Public Protection sentences have now been imprisoned for more than five times their tariff sentences? And will their imprisonment continue indefinitely?

Baroness Evans said:

“Of those prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment for public protection at the end of September 2015, 392 had served more than five times their tariff. IPPprisoners will continue to be detained until the independent Parole Board is satisfied that the risks they pose to the public are safely manageable in the community.”

Lord Brown called for the policy to be revised, describing IPP sentencing as a form of “preventative detention, internment—entirely alien to our traditional criminal justice approach.”

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Religious provision in prison

Antoinette Sandback asked what assessment has been made of the availability of staff and resources in prisons to enable religious services to take place.

Andrew Selous said:

“Prisons are required to facilitate and enable religious services for all faiths. The availability of staff and resources to do this is kept under review locally.”

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Response to Nick Hardwick’s Annual Report 

Douglas Carswell asked what measures the Government plans to take to address concerns raised by Nick Hardwick in his Annual Report for 2014-15

Areas of concern raised in the report included:

  1. Safety
  2. Respect
  3. Purposeful activity
  4. Resettlement

Andrew Selous responded:

Increasing levels of violence

“This Government has introduced two new offences through the Serious Crime Act 2015 for being in possession of a knife or other offensive weapon within a prison without authorisation, and throwing of items, including NPS over a prison wall without authorisation. This offence will help to control these substances in prison.

The importance of treating prisoners with respect 

“We are continuing to take forward the strengths he highlighted which included: good staff/prisoner relationships, increased use of prisoner peer mentors and good practice in health care”

The lack of purposeful activity

“The hours worked by prisoners in industrial occupations has already risen from 10.6 million hours in 2010/2011 to 14.2 million hours in the 2013-2014.”

Issues around resettlement

“Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) launched their ‘Through the Gate’ service on 1 May 2015. This service provides offenders with support to find accommodation and jobs, finance and debt advice, and support for sex workers and victims of domestic violence.”



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