Queen’s speech: Let’s find solutions to the problems in prisons, not add to them

Further steps towards privatisation of the prison system will make an already bad situation even worse. Privatisation of the prison system won’t solve the problem of overcrowding, a lack of money and staffing shortages. But the solution is simple. We must send fewer people to jail.

So what crimes should we rein back on? Decriminalisation of cannabis would help. Also, let’s be tough on people who injure and kill when breaking the rules of the road and ban them from ever driving again, rather than relying on prison to be the only deterrent.

I agree with giving Prison Governors more autonomy, but when they had that in the past it was eroded by Government interventions. This Govt talks about devolving power, but then grabs it back when it suits them.

As for the problem of ‘legal highs’ in prison, they have been around for years. The presence of such drugs is a symptom of the deteriorating conditions. The figures on suicides, self-harm and violence in jails have all escalated because of the link to overcrowding and losing experienced staff. Fewer prisoners, not further privatisation, is the solution.

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