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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

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

The outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons today warned the government of the challenges ahead in maintaining progress in an overpopulated prison system. Dame Anne Owers urged ministers to be bold and think differently about prison in her final speech at the Prison Reform Trust.

Charting the progress made over the past nine years, the Chief Inspector stressed that prisons were brittle, but not broken, and the changes and investment made in health care, education and resettlement work, coupled with the considerable efforts of the prison service, means that prisons are better places than they were nine years ago.

But while prisons have drawn in additional skills, services and money, they have also drawn in an extra 20,000 adult men.

Welcoming the current government’s commitment to ending the revolving door of prisons, Anne Owers stated the need for rigorous and realistic planning before the implementation of any changes. She called for investment in alternatives to prison, as well as continuing investment in other services, such as mental health or substance misuse, so that prison is not the route by which people get support.

Anne Owers said:

"Over the last nine years, prisons have become better places. This is not a broken system, but one where considerable effort and resources have been devoted to trying to rehabilitate prisoners, drawing in resources and expertise from outside. But prisons have also drawn in 27% more prisoners. That is one of the underlying reasons why progress has been slow and recidivism remains obstinately high. We now have an inflated prison system in a shrinking state. Our overpopulated prisons are not broken, but they are increasingly brittle.
"Instead of creating and sustaining a prison system too big to fail, and drawing in more and more resources to try to make it better, the age of austerity offers the chance of tackling a prison system that has become too big to succeed – by doing things differently.
"That makes it crucial to invest in ‘not prison’: both instead of and after prison. This will pose considerable problems at present. For, as the closure of the large mental hospitals showed, it is not enough simply to shut down or reduce places that provide inappropriate responses to problematic human behaviour. It is also necessary to invest sufficiently and appropriately in the alternatives. Justice reinvestment is rather different from justice disinvestment."

Dame Anne Owers took over from Lord Ramsbotham as Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2001. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.