Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Prison lock-down must be followed by rehabilitation investment

Responding to BBC reports that “prisoners in England and Wales will be confined to their cells for 23 hours a day and allowed out only to shower and use pay-phones, with all visits cancelled”, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

“This is a regrettable but necessary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus in prisons and keep prison staff, prisoners and our communities safe.

“However, it must only be a temporary measure for the duration of this emergency. It is vital that the Government recognises the damage this will do to prisoners’ rehabilitation and the likelihood that it will lead to more reoffending. 

“Prisoners already spend too much time locked in their cells, unable to engage in productive activity or receive rehabilitative services. Reoffending rates are already far too high.

“When this crisis is over, the Government must focus on dramatically improving rehabilitation, both in prison and in the community, to stop reoffending and prevent people becoming victims of crime.”


Peter Wrigley said...

This puts our own privations (confined to the our homes for 12 weeks, but free to wander from room to room and into the garden if we have one, and to go outside for a period of exercise) into perspective. Prisons must in future concentrate more on re-rehabilitation if we re to remain a civilised society. In the meantime those of us "on the outside" should realise how lucky we are, in spite of the lockdown

Frank Little said...

I couldn't agree more.

When those in quarantine from Covid-19 have been interviewed on the radio, what they say they miss most is freedom. That reinforces the point that prison reformers make, that the real punishment of gaol is deprivation of freedom. A decent government should make sure that the time spent is put to good use. Eventually, all but the most incorrigible convicts will be released back into society. We should ensure that they are better people than when they went in.