Our Director, Richard Garside, yesterday called for a fundamental rethink of prisons policy after the release of a damning report from the National Audit Office.
Released today, the report concluded that the prison service was failing to provide a safe, secure and decent prison estate.
On just about every measure, the current approach is failing. Far too many prisoners are being held, and far too many staff are being expected to work, in dangerous, overcrowded and dilapidated buildings. The backlog on prison maintenance has grown. Plans to expand prison capacity have stalled.
Rather than attempting to build its way out of the current prisons crisis, the government would do better to rethink some of its basic assumptions, developing a long-term strategy to prevent unnecessary criminalisation and tackle unncessary imprisonment.
I hope that the proposed Royal Commission on Criminal Justice is given the scope to consider the current prisons crisis and how it might best be resolved.