Welcome for Justice Committee prisons report

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has welcomed today’s report from the House of Commons Justice Committee on the government’s prison planning approach.

The report – Prison Population 2022: planning the future – finds that the government’s current approach to planning and funding future prison accommodation is inefficient, ineffective, and unsustainable.

Speaking today, the Centre’s Director, Richard Garside, said:

I am pleased that the Justice Committee makes clear that the crisis-ridden state of the prison system across England and Wales is the result of political choices, by successive governments and parliaments.

The key to resolving the deep crisis in the prison system is to end the unnecessary use of imprisonment, reduce the numbers being locked up and start closing down those old and dilapidated prisons that are not fit for human habitation.

In its report, the Justice Committee concludes that England and Wales is ‘in the depths of an enduring crisis in prison safety and decency’ and that there is ‘a grave risk that we become locked in a vicious cycle of prisons perpetually absorbing huge amounts of criminal justice spending, creating a perverse situation in which there is likely to be more “demand” for prison’.

The report calls for a ‘refreshed narrative around the use of imprisonment and how as a society we wish to deal with crime… This should include an explicit recognition that social problems cannot be meaningfully addressed through the criminal justice system’.

In its evidence to the Inquiry, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies urged the Committee ‘to consider practical steps the government might take to reduce the prison population as a key means of tackling the current prisons crisis’.

The Centre’s Director, Richard Garside, gave evidence to the Committee on Wednesday, 11 July 2018.