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The National Annual Report from the Independent Monitoring Boards was published recently, with the volunteer members reporting that the prison system is in a state of ‘fragile recovery’.
A lengthy period of staffing problems, increases in drugs and violence, and inadequate rehabilitation opportunities had added to an already stretched prison system’s problems.
In the report, Dame Anne Owers, National Chair of the IMBs, highlighted the impact of new psychoactive substances on prison safety, with a rise in violence and self-harm.
As prison governors were granted greater autonomy to grant Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) to offenders, the Government announced that 230 additional businesses had joined the MoJ’s flagship offender work placement scheme, the New Futures Network (NFN). The news came a year on from the launch of the prisons Education and Employment Strategy.
The Justice Secretary also announced a fundamental reform of the probation system to ensure that rehabilitation, support into work, treatment and housing is continued for ex-offenders when they leave prison. In addition, a new £250,000 construction academy opened at HMP Leeds – to equip offenders in Yorkshire with valuable skills ahead of release.
Commenting on the government’s announcement today (Thursday 20 June) of the decision to expand the community sentence treatment pilots (CSTPs) to nine additional courts in two new areas, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
“We welcome the decision to expand the CSTPs to nine additional courts on the back of evidence which shows a 250% increase in referrals to mental health treatment and better outcomes in the current pilot areas. As the justice secretary says, this is just the start of a more effective response to offenders with mental health needs and we look forward to a further expansion of services in the near future.”
Commenting on the publication of the final report from The Farmer Review for Women today (18 June 2019), Jenny Earle, Prison Reform Trust’s Transforming Lives Programme Director said:
“Lord Farmer’s report makes many practical, and measurable, proposals that if implemented will reduce the number of children unnecessarily separated from their mother by her imprisonment. The review’s focus on increasing the role of community based women’s services, recognises that many women in prison are there for non-violent crimes.
As the PM steps down, Federation National Chair John Apter pulls no punches on the damage she has caused to policing
Theresa May stands down as leader of the Conservative party – she will continue as Prime Minister until her successor is appointed – but in reality, early June marks ‘The End of May’.
Let’s be honest here - for the majority of police officers (myself included) it has not come a day too soon.
Mrs May has made no secret of her thoughts on policing – her contempt and disdain for the profession has been vocal and sustained during her time as Home Secretary, and then throughout her tenure as Prime Minister. Her actions have been devastating for policing, genuinely devastating.