Control, order, hope


This report from the UK think tank Centre for Social Justice suggests a manifesto for prison safety and reform.

Our prisons are in a terrible state. This has not come about overnight. For decades our prisons and the public have been let down, just as those working and living in them have been failed. The most recent failings have been driven by a reduction in the number of prison officers working in our prisons, but longer-term failings have included a defeatist attitude towards tackling drugs and addiction, and a failure to keep the prison estate up-to-date and fit-for-purpose.

If there is one resounding message that this and future governments must take on board, it is that control, order, and hope must be restored to our prisons. This means tackling the drugs, ending the violence, and supporting staff. For in prisons awash with drugs, brutality and disempowered prison officers, there can be precious little prospect of offenders turning their lives around. In fact, quite the opposite, with prisoners accelerated into addiction, violence, and worse criminal behaviour.

This paper focuses on how we can restore control, order, and hope to our prisons. We outline a total of 59 recommendations, but prioritise the following for consideration by this and future governments with a determination to ensure that our prison, and wider criminal justice system, works for victims, the public, and those who work in it, by keeping them safe and helping reduce, rather than generate crime.

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