Prisons in Parliament

Time to stop talking and start doing something urges Jo Stevens MP

From behind bars to the streets. Image: Dionisio Leitao

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. 

From incarceration to the streets

What steps are the Government taking to reduce the number of people released from prison into homelessness?

“We now provide unprecedented support for offenders to make sure all receive support on release” said Andrew Selous, but added, “the responsibility for making sure there is housing available ultimately lies with the local authority”.

A report out in November last year found that those released from Bronzefield prison and Young offenders Institution, with nowhere to go, had been given tents and sleeping bags by the prison and its chaplaincy.

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Education

“It is simply not good enough that prisoners are in their cells for up to 22 or 23 hours at a time” said Michael Gove this week. “Time out of cell is a key indicator of how effectively a prison is run.”

Just some of the latest inspection reports by the HM Inspectorate of prisons have found:

  • HMYOI Glenn Parva  “Well over a quarter of young men locked in their cells during the working day”. Some inmates had “only an hour a day out of their cell.”
  • HMP Lewes “Time out of cell was limited to two hours for the many unemployed prisoners… Outdoor exercise was limited to 30 minutes a day”.
  • HMP Bronzefield “Some women only had an hour out of their cell a day”
  • HMP Wormwood scrubs “Most prisoners still had less than two hours a day out of their cells and we found more than half the population locked behind their doors during the working day”

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Meaningful work for prisoners

Andrew Selous outlined opportunities for young offenders to work in construction and spoke about encouraging self employment and enterprise. “We want prisons to be places of hard work and high ambition” he said.

But as Jo Stevens MP pointed out, “The Justice Secretary has been in his job for a year now, and we have had a lot of talk about reform. Is it not time for him to stop talking and to start doing something?”

 



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