The Prison System Is Not Functioning Well

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It has long been apparent that the UK’s current prison system is not functioning well. Although the HM Prison Service outline their purpose as ‘we keep those sentenced to prison in custody, helping them lead law-abiding and useful lives, both while they are in prison and after they are released’ (, 2016), currently nearly half of all prisoners go on to re-offend within a year, which costs society £15 billion a year (Ministry of Justice, 2016). In addition, last summer, the Chief Inspector of Prisons warned that jails in England and Wales were in their worst state for a decade (HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, 2015) with sharp rises in inmate violence, increasing drug use, staff shortages and squalid conditions. Therefore there is no doubt that the prison system is in urgent need of reform.
Last month, Elizabeth Truss outlined planned reforms to the prison system in a government proposal, ‘Prison Security and Reform’ she labelled ‘the blueprint for the biggest overhaul of our prisons in a generation”. She outlined plans for a governor-led approach, in which prison governors will have the power to opt out of national contracts, and make their own resource allocation decisions. Six ‘reform’ prisons with these features are already being trialled around the country, but it is too early to judge their impact. (Ministry of Justice, 2016). Autonomy is expected to empower staff, improve standards and lead to a reduction in reoffending. The idea came from
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