Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Reform Prisons front and centre of the Prisons and Court Reform Bill debated in the Commons yesterday

I am very much involved in the legislation that is the Prison and Court Reform Bill. It was debated at length in the commons at second reading yesterday and passed with the support of the labour, and snp parties who attended and debated the matter at length. No one from the liberal or green parties turned up to debate the issue, which was surprising.
The full debate is here:

In the last two months I have taken time out to visit two of the Reform Prisons, which include Wandsworth and Coldingley. Wandsworth is outstandingly run by Ian Bickers, whose twitter account is a brave new development in the world of prisons. The changes there are positive and palpable.
As to Coldingley for background more details see here - http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/coldingley
- but all you need to know is that it is a groundbreaking prison in so many different ways; every inmate effectively works a normal working day, and the quality of the work they do in the large and well equipped engineering workshops, print shops and more is outstanding. This is all part of my attempt to visit as many prisons as is possible and get a better understanding of the many ways in which reform is being engaged with. There is better news on officer numbers, and there are many measures in the bill and revised guidance which will free up governors for the way ahead. Having seen both Wandsworth and Coldingley recently the reform prisons are palpably the way ahead. The governors, the officers and the prisoners are all welcoming the changes. At Coldingley, I am particularly looking forward to the upcoming opening of their cafĂ© and garden centre which will be selling produce, flowers and equipment that are produced in their entirety by the prisoners. My thanks to all the prisoners, staff and the governor who welcomed me to the prison last week.