Plans to reorganise the prisons system are 'meaningless', the shadow justice secretary said today, after it was unveiled that a network of resettlement jails would introduces as part of a shake-up of the system.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
The idea of resettlement prisons is a good one - prisoners being integrated back into communities where they have family and friends could lead to reduced re-offending and fewer victims of crime.
However, this is another example of reality being very different from rhetoric. These plans amounts to a substantial reorganisation of our prisons system, and it's not clear how it will be funded. Nor is it clear what will happen in London where there is an estimated shortfall of 8,000 places.
These plans beg more questions which Chris Grayling can't answer. Prisoners from London are currently scattered all over the country, many miles from their family and friends, making this policy announcement meaningless for them.
Too many people are being sent to prison when they could be better dealt with in the community, the former Governor of Brixton Prison said today, after the Justice Secretary unveiled a shake-up of the prison estate.
Paul McDowell said: "Putting communities at the heart of the criminal justice system through the development of resettlement prisons is a step in the right direction.
"We need to make sure that preparing offenders for their release begins at the earliest point of entry into custody. It is critically important to ensure that offenders are given appropriate support by someone in their own community.
"This is the best place for them re-build relationships with families, deal drug or alcohol problems and get the help they need with mental health issues".
Rehabilitation in the community "must begin behind the prison walls" and follow offenders "out through the gates", Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said today as part of a shake-up of the prison system.
"It is little wonder we have such high reoffending rates when you have a prisoner leaving HMP Liverpool, given a travel permit to get them home to the south coast, and then expected to simply get on with it.
"This approach is a significant step forwards in our reforms to tackle reoffending and lays the groundwork for building a genuine nationwide network of 'through the gate' supervision and support for all offenders."