Prisons in Parliament

Response to violence in prison “inadequate” and “reactive” says former shadow Justice Minister

Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London

Wormwood Scrubs, one of five prisons to face walk outs in the last five months. Image: David Merrigan.

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. 

In response to rapidly increasing violence and deteriorating conditions across the prison estate, Andrew Slaughter, former shadow Justice Minister, called upon Michael Gove to make a statement on safety in our prisons.

Statement on safety in prison

Mr Gove attributed the rise in violence to an increased number of gangs and the accessibility of drugs in prison, driven by lack of meaningful activity.

“Younger offenders who have been involved in gang-related activities pose a particular concern. Another factor is the widespread availability of new psychoactive substances… which are more difficult to detect than traditional cannabis and opiates. The former chief inspector of prisons has said that NPS are

‘now the most serious threat to the safety and security of jails.’

NPS consumption, and indeed violence in prison, is also often a consequence of prisoners’ boredom and frustration, and a lack of faith in the future.”

Mr Gove outlined the steps being taken to reform prisons and address violence:

  1. There has been a net increase of 530 prison offices since January 2015
  2. we are deploying body-worn cameras as additional protection for staff
  3. In May, we outlawed new psychoactive substances
  4. In June, I allocated an extra £10 million in new funding for prison safety


Mr Slaughter  described the response to rising violence as “inadequate” and “reactive“. He called for a full response to a “growing and increasing crisis”, saying that “if we do not have [a full response], he is going to lose control fully of the prison estate.”


In context

  •  The number of deaths in custody has almost doubled since 2007
  • In the 12 months to December 2015, there were 625 incidents of serious assaults against staff in prisons, an increase of 31 per cent
  • A freedom of information request last week revealed there had been five prison staff walkouts in the past five months

Read the full statement here.

One Comment on “Prisons in Parliament”

  1. In addition, the former Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove MP, and Ian Acheson gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on 13 July 2016 on Islamist extremism in prisons and other prison matters. See

    Liked by 1 person

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