Assaults and Escapes Rise as Prison Cuts Increase
- 05 Mar
A group of MPs have put an increase in assaults in prisons and a rise in escapes down to the government's spending cuts that have been implemented.
The committee also warns that further cuts are likely to have a negative effect on rehabilitation work, and possibly cause re-offending rates to rise.
MPs in a public accounts committee have assessed the prison services as facing serious problem with having to find a further £653 million by 2014-15.
NOMS, which manages 117 public prisons in England and Wales and the contracts of 14 private prisons, is responsible for a prisoner population of around 86,000. It is having to make cuts of £650m to its £3.4bn budget by 2015.
They are impressed from the report by the national offender management service (NOMS) that they have managed to hit their targeted savings of £230 million in 2011-12, but have found that this already seems to have negatively affected services.
The report says there has been an increased level of risk in some prisons from the cuts last year already:
We are concerned about safety and decency in some prisons and the fact that more prisoners are reporting that they do not feel safe.
Assaults on staff, self-harm and escapes from contractor escorts have all increased. The agency should ensure that savings plans have regard to the potential impact on risks to standards of safety, decency and respect in prisons and in the community.
There are also further problems expected with more cuts beng required, as one of the main tactics by Chris Graying, Minister for Justice, is to close older prisons - but the report by NOMS shows this could result in over crowding as prison levels are already close to this.
There is expected to be a drop in staff training for offender management, which would hinder rehabilitation.
Margarette Hodge, chair of the committee, said:
There is a risk that reduced (staff) numbers will result in staff being taken off offender management programmes to cover duty on prison wings.
This means that training and rehabilitation activities could suffer, even though we know these reduce re-offending after release.
The agency needs to seriously consider the long-term consequences of short-term cuts.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
Running prisons that are safe, decent and secure is a priority. We will continue to drive down running costs by replacing old prison accommodation with new places that are better value for money and provide better opportunities to reduce reoffending.
- 11 Sep
Prisons told to adjust for older inmates
Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen says prisons will have to take on "care home and even hospice" roles in future, reports the BBC. He said: "It is remarkable that the fastest growing segment of the prison...
- 31 Jul
Charities are best at reducing re-offending
A report by charity thinktank New Philanthropy Capital has found that 28% of charity projects have helped to reduce reoffending compared to 19% of private companies, reports the Guardian.The report...
- 29 Jul
It could become illegal to deny offenders legal aid
It could become illegal to deny prisoners in England and Wales legal aid so that they are able to effectively challenge the conditions they are held under, rules the court of appeal, reports the...
- 08 Jul
Offender’s rehabilitation is delayed by legal aid restrictions
The court of appeal has been told that thousands of prisoners are being prevented from starting rehabilitation due to them being denied legal aid for parole board hearings, reports the...
- 17 Mar
New supported accommodation for ex-offenders in Birmingham
Trident Reach the People Charity's new Reach House has been built to provide 24-hour supported accommodation for young offenders to help support them getting back into the community after their...
- 12 Mar
Staff working with young offenders criticised
A report by three inspection bodies has said that staff aimed at helping reduce re-offending in young offenders are "too often suspicious of each other" reports the BBC.The report, by the Care...
- 19 Sep
Family homes are needed to help offenders re-offending
A study by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Ofsted had found that almost one in five prisoners did not know where they would be living once they left jail, reports Inside...
- 16 Sep
Ex-offenders ‘lacking home and job'
An inspection into resettlement provision for adult prisoners had followed 80 offenders after they left prison. Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said that it found the role of a prisoner's...
- 16 May
Offenders placed in prison for a day in a bid to cut re-offending
The Centre for Social Justice has urged the government to look to the US where this approach appears to work. The report has said that a third of people given community sentences re-offended within a...
- 30 Jan
Inspection finds offenders with learning disabilities are not being supported
The inspection looking into the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice systems was conducted by HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary,...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Information on Exempt Accommodation & DWP Review was very informative, but also commend your approach in delivering workshops/conferences in a proactive way, and use of email and your website as a public resource" P.C. - The Hyde Group