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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

April 27, 2009: Justice Minister On Prison And Probation Policy

Jack Straw, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has addressed Parliament on the government's prison and probation policy. He stated to Parliament:

"Investing in prison and probation services has been a key priority for this administration. Prison places are up by nearly 25,000, to 85,000, with spending rising by a similar proportion; whilst the probation caseload has risen by 52% and spending has increased 70% in real terms. This is the first postwar government to see a sustained reduction in crime, down 39% since 1997, with the chances of being a victim the lowest for a generation. There has been a 23% fall in adult reoffending between 2000 and 2006."

"...understandable concern has been expressed about the numbers of juveniles and women held in custody. There has over the past year been a reduction of 8% in the number of juveniles [15-17 years] in jail. The number of adult women prisoners has fallen by 3% over the same period. In response to my noble Friend Baroness Corston’s recommendations I have committed £15.6 million over two years to help divert vulnerable women offenders from prison."

"We also want the Prison Service and the NHS better to deal with offenders with mental health problems. My noble friend Lord Bradley’s report on this will be published shortly. My noble friend Lord Carter of Coles was asked in 2007 to consider how better to manage short and medium term prison pressures. I published his report alongside an Oral Statement on 5 December 2007."

"Since the publication of Lord Carter’s report we have already provided an additional 3,500 prison places. Lord Carter recommended that net capacity should be brought up to 96,000 by 2014 and that 7,500 of these places should be created by the construction of three 2,500-place prison complexes, described as ‘Titans’. In June last year we launched a consultation on these proposals.... "The government’s response to the consultation is published today, along with the document, ‘Capacity and Competition Policy for Prisons and Probation’ and an economic impact assessment..."

"Once a prison is established in an area, almost without exception the local community becomes very supportive of it. A prison is a source of secure, well paid employment and a focus for much volunteering. The research evidence which shows that prisons have no adverse effect on house prices or crime rates is then borne out by experience. But proposals for new prisons can at first be controversial."

" I did see merit in Lord Carter’s proposals for 2,500-place prisons, especially as they would have been complexes with four or five separate and distinct regimes. But most of those whom we consulted took a different view, and believed that the disadvantages would outweigh the advantages. Not the least of those of this view was Dame Anne Owers, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons."

"I have looked very carefully at everything which has been said, and have concluded that the right approach is to deliver the 7,500 places not through Titans, but through five prisons holding 1,500 offenders, each divided into smaller units. We already operate successfully prisons of this size."

"These new prisons will neither be Victorian replicas nor large warehouses. They will be modern, purpose-built institutions for adult male prisoners only. They will be safe, secure and effective in helping prisoners deal with their offending and develop the work, education and life skills they need to turn their lives around."

"I can announce today that we are working to secure sites for the first two 1,500-place prisons at Beam Park West, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and Runwell, in the Borough of Chelmsford in Essex. Both prisons will be privately built and run, and their construction and operation will sustain many hundreds of jobs."

"Prison capacity planning depends crucially on projections of future demand and judgements about the cost-effectiveness and appropriateness of replacing older places with new capacity. These and other considerations are kept under constant review, and further decisions as to sites and the removal of older provision will be announced in due course. In this context I can tell the House that we will not be pursuing a prison on the Omega site in Warrington. Meanwhile, work is already in hand to increase capacity by approximately 8,500 places over the next three years. It also remains my intention to withdraw the End of Custody Licence scheme as soon as safely possible. "

"The expansion is going to include two new public prisons – Isis, adjacent to Belmarsh, and Coltishall, a former RAF base in Norfolk; and two new private prisons – Belmarsh West and Maghull. We are also expanding HMP Littlehey – near Huntingdon – to provide 480 places by early next year, as a quicker, more cost-effective option than buying and converting a prison ship."

"... at all times, but especially in today’s economic climate, we have a duty to ensure that prison and probation services work as efficiently and effectively as possible in the interests of the public. We are seeking to improve the efficiency of public sector prisons through reforms to workforce structures for new uniformed staff and by reducing management costs. From today we will be consulting on the detail of these plans."

"Nearly 90% of prison places are delivered directly by the public sector, but the private sector also plays an important part. The Government’s approach to competition was described in last November’s Pre-Budget Report and last Wednesday’s Red Book."

"I have already set out the situation for new-build prisons...  Two poorly performing public prisons will be market-tested this year, Birmingham and Wellingborough. Public, private and third sector providers will all be invited to bid."

"... let me now turn to probation. It is against a background of greatly increased real terms budgets that the Probation Service is now being asked to make some savings of low percentages this year and thereafter."

"Detailed analyses show that historically the workload and resources of probation areas have not necessarily been well matched, especially when measured against convictions – the key determinant of workload. So we are now seeking to target resources better to match needs. We want to be clearer about the service probation should deliver, to reduce administration costs, and rigorously to manage contracts."

"The ‘Probation Trusts’ programme gives areas greater control over budgets and enables the private and third sectors to provide more services. If Probation Boards fail to become Trusts, from 2010 options will include amalgamation into existing Trusts or being put to competition in the open market. Probation court services will remain with the public sector, as required by the Offender Management Act 2007."

"Probation areas are now also required to review their services against a national ‘Best Value’ framework. If services fail to meet the standards necessary, areas must improve performance or use competition to identify alternative providers. As the first services to be reviewed in 2009, at least 25% of Community Payback and Victim Contact services will be competed in the open market."

"... we have provided nearly 25,000 prison places since 1997 to accommodate the most serious, dangerous and persistent offenders. And we are committed to bringing the total number of places up to 96,000 by 2014. Over the last decade, prison conditions have been transformed. As HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has acknowledged, prisons today are more decent, more constructive and considerably more secure. They are places of punishment and reform."

"The measures I have announced today for expanding and modernising the prison estate and the management of prisons and probation will allow us to realise still further improvements to public protection and reoffending, with maximum benefit for the taxpaying public."