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Contemporary context

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 replaced police authorities with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 changed remand and release on license for prisoners. It also gave the Secretary of State the power to make rules regarding the employment and payment of prisoners.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 reformed the “toolkit” of laws to deal with anti-social behaviour, including replacing ASBOs (Anti-social Behaviour Orders).

The Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 extended 12-month's supervision in the community to most offenders on their release from custody.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 contained a range of provisions across four areas: criminal justice; young offenders; courts and tribunals; and judicial review.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 introduced provisions relating to a number of areas, including proceeds of crime; computer misuse; organised, serious and gang-related crime; seizure and forfeiture of drug-cutting agents; protection of children and others; and other provisions including making it an offence to possess a knife or offensive weapon inside a prison and making it possible to restrict the use of mobile phones in custodial institutions.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 introduced a blanket ban on the production, supply, possession with the intent to supply, and import and export, of psychoactive substances—also known as ‘legal highs'.

Page last updated September 2016.


Related information

Current parliamentary business on the topic of prisons