- Posted on : 20 June 2017
- by Jessica Stubbs
Staff shortages, out-of-date prison facilities and rise in the number of prisoners have led to a system that is under sustained and serious pressure. The Prisons Safety and Reform White Paper sets out the government proposals to invest £1.3bn in new prisons over the next five years and plans for over 2,100 extra officers to be in place by 2018 at a cost of £104m a year.
To help raise standards new performance measures for every prison will be set from April 2017 and an annual league table for prison performance published. Alongside this greater accountability prison governors will be given greater devolved powers to determine how their prisons are run, including how to prioritise and deliver services within their prisons. Greater decision making is set to include authority over workforce planning, budgets and a range of service provision. More empowered governors will be tasked to implement tangible improvements by 2020 introducing new ways of working and modern technology to improve regimes, support reform and combat security threats.
To tackle the most pressing threats to safety and security in prisons the government have set plans to invest in staff, strengthen search capability to stop contraband entering prison and reducing supply and demand for drugs and illicit mobile devices. Alongside the announcements to boost staff numbers investment will aim to further improve capability by providing the right tools, training and support for existing staff to enable them to do their job more effectively and take on new responsibilities such as one-to-one support to prisoners.
Prisoners are active citizens when they exercise responsibility by making positive contributions to prison life or the wider community.
A multi-disciplinary approach is needed to turn around lives and address the complex needs experienced by the majority of people living in prison. The government reforms offer the opportunity to rethink service provision in prisons and delivering well-evidenced alternatives to custody.
Self-inflicted deaths had risen by 28% and in the same period 321 people died in prison custody, an increase of 30%. A Ministry of Justice survey found that 64% of offenders reported that they had used class A drugs at some point and 49% were identified as suffering from anxiety and/or depression. Delivering high quality healthcare for people in prisons requires a whole prison approach and a need for governors to work more closely and effectively with healthcare commissioners and providers.
The Crown Prosecution Service, police and others in the criminal justice system are expected to work together to ensure a robust response to tackling criminality in prisons. Prisons are facing new security challenges with a sharp rise in the number of drones used to fly and drop contraband over prison walls and nearly 17,000 mobile phones and SIM cards found in prisons in 2015 alone.
Women in Prison’s 2020 Campaign is aiming to reduce the number of women in prison from 3,900 to 2020 by 2020. This includes making sure community support is in place that will help women turn their lives around and reduce the current rates of reoffending and recall.
A prison sentence damages an individual’s chances of being a successful member of society in many ways. Hope through education can mitigate that damage and we know that it makes a difference to lives after release. Over a year since Dame Sally Coates’ major review of prison education, what has been achieved and what more can be done to take advantage of learning as a route to rehabilitation as a successful citizen?
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Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.