Prisons in Parliament

What steps are being taken to reduce custodial sentencing for women? Debated this week. 

Staffing ratios debated this week. Image: Constabulary at HMP Inverness (Dave Conner)


Prisons in Parliament bringing you up-to-date on the last week of politics and prisons. What’s been said? And by whom? Find out here…

Women in prison

The number of women in prisons across the UK has doubled since 2000. So what steps are being taken to reduce the number of custodial sentences for women? Asked Drew Hendry.

Caroline Dineage said:

“Crime is falling and the female prison population is now consistently under 4,000 for the first time in a decade… However, we want to do more, so in partnership with the Government Equalities Office we are making available a £200,000 grant fund to support local areas to pilot the development of multi-agency approaches to female offending.”


Post prison employment

What steps are being taken to improve prisons’ engagement with employers? Asked Andrew Stephenson. 

“It is economically sensible to ensure that ex-offenders are in work—about 22% of those in receipt of out-of-work benefits are ex-offenders—and it makes moral sense to give people dignity and a chance to redeem themselves by contributing economically to society.” Michael Gove

Mr Gove said there would be specific reforms in the new year to give more governors greater freedom to facilitate employment opportunities.


Reform of the prison estate

How much will the new prisons planned by the government cost to build? And how long will they take to complete? Asked Peter Bone.

Andrew Selous said it would cost £1.3 bn to build nine new prisons, five of which will open in this Parliament’s term and the rest shortly after.


Staffing in prisons

What is the average ratio of prison officers to prisoners? Asked Philip Davies.

Andrew Selous said the ratio of prisoner to prison officers is 1:4.8 at male establishments and 1:3.5 at female establishments. Although this does vary across category and by local circumstances.


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