Explaining the need for reform in what No 10 is describing as the first speech from a prime minister focusing solely on prisons since John Major in the 1990s, Cameron will say: “The failure of our system today is scandalous.”
“Forty-six per cent of all prisoners will reoffend within a year of release; 60% of short-sentenced prisoners will reoffend within the same period. And current levels of prison violence, drug taking and self-harm should shame us all.
“In a typical week, there will be almost 600 incidents of self-harm; at least one suicide; and 350 assaults, including 90 on staff. This failure really matters.”
He will argue that reoffending costs the country up to £13bn a year. But Cameron will also make a moral case for a renewed focus on cutting reoffending through education and rehabilitation, saying that for too long governments have adopted an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to prisons.
“When I say we will tackle our deepest social problems and extend life chances, I want there to be no no-go areas. And that includes the 121 prisons in our country, where our social problems are most acute and people’s life chances are most absent,” he will say.Even the Guardian approves:
If you want to read more my book on prison reform, Doing Time, is still available in all good book shops.