Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Brown offers too little too late on Prisons

It seems that Gordon Brown is now offering more money for prison building. The problem is that this is too little and too late. The reality is that the Home Office predictions on prison numbers have been showing an impending crisis for years and not enough has been done to avert it.

There are two things that could have been done, one is build more prisons and the other is lock less people up. What we seem to be doing is the reverse of both.

This has two knock on effects. Firstly the prison service just does not have the capacity to rehabilitate people properly, because prisons are too crowded, resulting in more people being re convicted than would otherwise be the case. Secondly people are being held longer than the current rules would normally allow for because they can't complete specific courses they need to complete to get parole, or the probation service is in such chaos that it can't process the paperwork, leading to arbitrary imprisonment. Both these problems make the overcrowding issue worse, adding to the problem.

Now we hear that Lord Falconer is going to release prisoners early, again in a fairly arbitrary fashion, including prisoners who may have not been properly rehabilitated, which will damage the publics faith in the criminal justice system.

This is clearly the worst of all worlds. We have arguably either populist or correct sentencing policy not backed up with anything sensible leading to a reduction in the quality of the prison service and a reduction in public confidence at the same time. Gordon Brown has not been prepared to pay for his governments policy on prisons and sentencing.

Doesn't it just fill you with confidence that he takes over next week?

The BBC has this.


loadofoldstodge said...

I listened to some of Gordon's speech to the ACPO Summer COnference. To be honest, I thought I was listening to David Davis.

Brown spoke against the plethora of forms and targets and it seems clear he's going to steal Davis's clothes on this one.

By the way, I thought Dave's speech yesterday was pretty weak. He's still struggling with the concept of social responsibility, isn't he ?

Benedict White said...

Well, in some respects he has been responsible for the policy failures of the past. Still if he talks some sense we will listen to him.

I don't agree about the Cameron speech but then I would say that wouldn't I :)

Anonymous said...

"It seems that Gordon Brown is now offering more money for prison building. The problem is that this is too little and too late."
I suppose the headlines today about early release because of overcrowding has finally pushed the Chancellor into cynically appearing at the conference to speak with an offer of more money which is as you say too little too late. This crisis has been looming for years and I hope the press will highlight that.
I notice that the Minster concerned was not allowed to make this announcement, this is Brown at his worst and most controlling. An omen of things to come, disappear and leave your foot soldiers to handle/take the blame for the bad news while he charges in with the good news?