Welcome for rethink on reform prison plans

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' Director, Richard Garside, has welcomed hints that the new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, might be rethinking plans for 'reform prisons'.

Speaking yesterday at the House of Commons Justice Committee, Liz Truss said that she was not yet ready to commit to new legislation. She also indicated that she wanted to take her time to reassess existing plans.

Richard said,

Any incoming Secretary of State will want to review their predecessor's plans before committing to them.

In the case of reform prisons, Liz Truss has good grounds for a rethink. As I argued earlier this year, Michael Gove's proposal for reform prisons is a tragic distraction from the big challenges of prison reform.

We need more of a focus on prison reform. Less of an obsession with reform prisons.

Richard also expressed disappointment at Truss' commitment to building new prisons and her rejection of the view that the numbers in prison should be reduced.

'The level of imprisonment in this, and any other country,' Richard said, 'is in good part a political choice. If we imprisoned today at the rate we imprisoned in the mid-1980s, when Mrs Thatcher was in Downing Street, there would be at least 30,000 fewer people in prison.'