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.
HMP BRISTOL URGENT NOTIFICATION
Commenting on today’s announcement (13 June 2019) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, that an Urgent Notification has been issued to justice secretary David Gauke over conditions at HMP Bristol, Mark Day, head of policy and communications at the Prison Reform Trust said:
“It is shocking that a prison in special measures since 2017 remains in such a state of decline that the chief inspector feels he has no other option but to issue the justice secretary with an urgent notification.
Static Systems Group’s extensive expertise in developing fire solutions for custodial facilities is behind the company’s latest innovation: a control system which fully integrates a prison’s fire alarm system with high-pressure watermist fire suppression equipment.
EvoMist™ has been developed by Static Systems in response to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) latest technical specification, Spec 054.
The system was designed, manufactured and tested at Static Systems’ in-house manufacturing facility in the West Midlands. It is the first integrated fire alarm and fixed misting system of its kind to be deployed in the UK’s custodial facilities, having being installed in early 2019 by Static Systems at a Category C men's prison in the East Midlands where it will protect around 200 prisoners in the facility’s new house block.
John Apter responds to Ministry of Justice’s knife and offensive weapons sentencing stats
The new Prime Minister must put serious violent crime at the top of their agenda as the number of people caught with knives and weapons reaches its highest in almost a decade, says National Chair John Apter.
Ministry of Justice figures, released today (June 13), lay bare the extent of the serious violent crime wave which continues to sweep the nation.
They show in the 12 months to the end of March 2019, 22,041 possession offences were dealt with by police and courts - 34% up on 2015 and the highest total since 2010.
Prison officers, and those involved inthe criminal justice sector, regularly face aggression, violent behaviour and verbal abuse from prisoners whilst on duty. With assaults on prison staff at an all-time high, – recent figures show an astounding 5,432 cases of reported abuse within in a twelve-month period in England and Wales alone - methods for deterring aggression and capturing evidence are now key.
Edesix VideoBadge Body Worn Cameras have been selected by prison services throughout the UK, including privately run prisons and Her Majesty’s Prison Service in England & Wales, Scotland and most recently Northern Ireland. These lightweight device scan be worn as part of the officer’s uniform, requiring nothing more than a simple swipe of their ID badge to assign a camera which is charged and ready to record video and audio at the press of a button. Not only do these secure, encrypted devices capture vital evidence, they act as a deterrent to negative behaviour, fit seamlessly into the daily routine of the prison officer, and allow secure and simple sharing, redacting, management and storage of footage.