Justice Committee - weekly update

14 June 2019

At the end of sitting weeks the Justice Committee publishes a brief summary of its activities in the form of a weekly update.

This week (commencing 10 June 2019)

Government response published

On Tuesday, we published the Government response to our report on Prison Population 2022: planning for the future.

The Ministry of Justice’s response to each of our recommendations can be read here.

Folliwing the response, The Chair of the Justice Committee, Bob Neill MP, commented:

'Our report has clearly got ministers thinking about the challenges that must be overcome, but they have not yet clearly set out an overall strategy or timeframe for action.

Many of the specific responses to recommendations, including on short sentences, retention of prison staff and the need for a long-term prison estates strategy, are vague.

I will be writing to the Minister and taking up some issues during our prison governance inquiry'.

Other business this week

Courts and tribunal reforms

On Tuesday, we took more evidence on the impact of courts and tribunals reforms on family and administrative justice.

We heard from:

  • Frances Judd QC, Chair, Family Law Bar Association
  • Jo Edwards, Chair, Resolution’s Family Law Reform Group
  • Dr Jenny Birchall, Women’s Aid
  • Sara Lomri, Deputy Legal Director, Public Law Project
  • Ken Butler, Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser, Disability Rights UK
  • Wendy Rainbow, Legal Team Manager, Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA)

This session was held as part of our ongoing inquiry into court and tribunal reforms.

Ministerial session on Transforming Rehabilitation

On Wednesday, we took evidence on Transforming Rehabilitation for the first time since the Government published its response to its consultation ‘Strengthening Probation, Building Confidence’.

We heard from Prisons and Probation Minister, Robert Buckland QC MP. He was accompanied by the following officials from HMPPS:

  • Amy Rees, Director General for Probation and HMPPS Wales
  • Jim Barton, Director and Senior Responsible Owner, Probation Reform Programme
  • Sonia Crozier, Chief Probation Officer

The session concentrated primarily on probation, in particular:

The Committee also asked about the management and supervision of men convicted of sexual offences.

The transcript will be published on the Transforming Rehabilitation inquiry page when available.

Calls for evidence

The Committee’s inquiry into Prison Governance is accepting written evidence.

The Committee would welcome written submissions of up to 3,000 words on all or some of the questions set out in the terms of reference.

Published correspondence

Future business

Report: The role of the magistracy: follow-up

On Tuesday 18th June, the Committee will publish its 18th Report of Session 2017-19 on our follow-up inquiry into the role of the magistracy. This inquiry followed up on work the Committee did in 2016, and will be available on the website from 00.01 as HC1654.

Inquiry: the role of the magistracy

Prison governance inquiry: first public evidence session

The Committee will next meet on Tuesday 18 June 2019 at 10am.

We will hold our first public evidence session on our inquiry into prison governance.

We will be hearing from:

  • Andrea Albutt, President, Prison Governors Association
  • Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League
  • Janine McDowell, CEO, Justice Services, Sodexo
  • Wyn Jones, Custodial Operations Director, Serco
  • Neil Richards, Director of Custodial Contracts, HM Prison and Probation Service
  • Mark Brickell, Deputy Director, Ministry of Justice

If you wish to watch in person from the public gallery you can. The meeting will be held in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House.

Further information

If you would like to watch either of our sessions next week in person, please read this guidance on visiting Parliament.

Follow the Justice Committee on Twitter for updates on the Committee's activity, news, and announcements. 

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