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Commenting on the HM Inspectorate of Probation report on Post-release supervision for short-term prisoners: the work undertaken by Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), Mark Day, head of policy and communications at the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“The chief inspector could not be clearer in her assessment of the failure of compulsory post-release supervision for short sentenced prisoners. While the reforms appear to have had no discernible impact on reoffending, recall rates have rocketed, disrupting lives and placing unnecessary pressure on an already overcrowded and overstretched prison system. Since its introduction, recall rates for men have increased by 29%, while for women they have risen by a shocking 166%.
EXTENSION OF PRESUMPTION AGAINST SHORT PRISON SENTENCES
Commenting on today’s announcement (17 May) by the Scottish Government that an affirmative order has been published to extend the existing presumption from three to 12 months, Alex Hewson, Senior Policy and Communications Officer at the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“Today’s announcement is a welcome step in reducing our reliance on ineffective short prison sentences. It’s grounded in the evidence, and is a critical part of wider efforts to deliver more effective responses to crime that benefit society, and those convicted.
Commenting on today’s announcement (16 May) by the Ministry of Justice that National Probation Service will take over responsibility for all offender management, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“David Gauke’s pragmatism offers hope that the damage done to the probation system by his predecessor can eventually be repaired. Courts are crying out for a simpler system in which they can have confidence. In legislating to make these sensible changes, the Justice Secretary should take the opportunity to implement his policy to abolish pointless short custodial sentences. He can bring to an end the nonsense of people being subject to compulsory post release supervision, which has led to an explosion in the number of people recalled to custody but done nothing to reduce re-offending.”
Commenting on the Ministry of Justice’s announcement today (4 May 2019) that a new Counter Corruption Unit has been established, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“This is a welcome announcement. Anyone who lives or works in prison knows that corrupting a member of staff is one of the most effective ways to get drugs in. But turning suspicion into proof and prosecution takes time and specialist input, so it is good to see this unit set up.
“The other half of the equation, set out in the prison service’s recently published drug strategy, is to reduce the demand for illicit drugs in the first place. That means both better treatment and a better way of life generally in prisons, so that prisoners stop seeing drugs as a way to make their sentence bearable.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE SAFETY IN CUSTODY STATISTICS
Commenting, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“These numbers show that there is a very long way to go before our prison system is safe for the people who live and work in it. The rise in self-inflicted deaths is especially concerning.