'The overwhelming priority is for the Government to take a strategic view and set the path to reduce the number of people in prison over the long term', our Director Richard Garside told the Sunday People over the weekend.
Richard's comments came as the newspaper reported on concerns over a rise in racial violence in prison, and claimed that groups were being set up to target Muslim prisoners.
Richard told the paper:
Prisons are rundown and overcrowded, with significant issues surrounding safety. We’ve seen a number of homicides in prison this year, and there’s certainly been an increase.
The Prison Officers Association has also raised concerns about assaults on their own members.
In the context of some of the rising racial tensions in society, it’s easy to see why some tensions in prison might be channelled through race lines.
My view remains that what we really need is not more prison staff but fewer prisoners and fewer prisons. The overwhelming priority is for the Government to take a strategic view and set the path to reduce the number of people in prison over the long term.