The Prison System: Priorities for Investment report considers the state of the current prison system and recommends that the government focuses on making improvements to sentencing policy; the prison estate; safety; and the workforce. The report follows another report from 2016 that was supposed to bring in a new wave of thinking and address issues with the prison system. However, prisons have continued to be largely unsafe and provide few opportunities to address issues with inmate behaviour.
The report addresses issues with reoffending – those ordered to serve short sentences are more likely to reoffend and evidence shows that those given community sentences are more likely to successfully rehabilitate. Despite this clear benefit, custodial sentences still seem to be the trend, which can be difficult to understand when short sentences are costly both financially and societally.
The initial 2016 paper promised to do away with problems associated with reoffending, assaults in prisons, poor retention in the workforce and the general poor quality of the estate. This report seeks to offer more concrete examples of opportunities for progression and provides six key recommendations, including providing the Ministry of Justice with more funding and closing the pay gap among HMPS staff.
The report will be of use to anyone working with offenders or within prison education, and may offer insight into the correct approach to rehabilitating and working with prisoners.
You might also be interested in:
- Reforming Outcomes - A Review of Offender Education in Wales (resource) - covers the Welsh government's report on its own involvement with prison skills provision, education and employment opportunities
- How universities can better support mature students returning to education - Part Two (blog) - the second part of a two-part blog post, covering the experiences of a mature student on a distance learning course with the Open University and making recommendations to HE institutions
- Books beyond bars: the transformative potential of prison libraries (resource) - UNESCO publishes a book by Lisa Krolak that considers the importance of prison libraries and the extent to which they support the rehabilitation of prisoners, which will be of use to prisoners and prison staff
- 10 Prisons Project – Family engagement programme resources (resource) - the 10 Prisons Project has released briefings and accompanying resources that aim to reduce substance misuse and violence in prisons by ensuring that prisoners maintain positive relationships with their families