Terms of reference: Prisons: planning and policies

21 November 2013

The Justice Committee is launching an inquiry entitled Prisons: planning and policies.

The Committee has examined aspects of prison policy during its inquiries on youth justice, women offenders and older prisoners, but this will be its first major inquiry on prison planning and policies in this Parliament, and an opportunity to consider in detail the current Government’s programme of reforms and efficiency savings.

The inquiry will consider

  • The Government’s approach to achieving efficiencies across the prison estate, including the public sector benchmarking programme and the use of competition;
  • The impact of lower operational costs on prison regimes, access to education, training and other purposeful activity, the physical environment, safety and security;
  • The costs and benefits of the new-for-old prison capacity programme and the Government’s intent to reduce overcrowding;
  • The ongoing re-configuration of the prison estate, including the extent to which prisons are suitably located and accessible to visitors, and the implications of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme;
  • The nature of support that public sector prisons require from NOMS and its capacity to deliver it; and
  • The extent to which the Government’s aspiration for “working prisons” has been achieved.

The inquiry will not consider the circumstances in which offenders should be sentenced to custody. The relationship between sentencing, prison policy and crime reduction has been considered by the Committee in other contexts, including in its current inquiry into Crime reduction: a coordinated approach?

How to respond

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency there now is a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via:

Submit written evidence

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Friday 28 March 2014.

Image: iStockphoto

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