Justice Committee

Prison Population 2022: planning for the future inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Report and Government response published.

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Report published

The Committee agrees with Justice Secretary David Gauke that there is a very strong case for abolishing sentences of six months or less altogether.

Re-offending costs an estimated £15 billion a year; the report recommends that there must be a focus on investing services to reduce this, thus cutting crime and reducing the overall size of the prison population - which is increased through repeat imprisonment.

The report argues that the Government’s focus on addressing safety and decency in prisons has come at the expense of rehabilitation.

The Ministry of Justice needs to refocus its efforts to enable a dual approach to maintain both safety and decency, as well as improve rehabilitation.

Government response published

Ministers need a clear plan of action to tackle the problem of rising prison populations and the health and safety of prisoners.

The Justice Committee welcomes the Government’s agreement with the issues raised in its Prison Population 2022: planning for the future report, but says ministers have failed to commit to a sufficient plan of action to effectively tackle the crisis faced.

Scope of the inquiry

This inquiry into the prison population focuses on:

  • Who is in prison and who is expected to be imprisoned over the next 5 years
  • The reasons prisoners are there, why they stay there and why they return
  • Whether the Ministry of Justice and prison services currently have a credible approach to accommodating the changes anticipated.
Terms of reference: Prison Population 2022: planning for the future

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