Government must act on restorative justice to cut prison numbers

18 September, 2012 1 Comment

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has called for better schemes to deal with prisoners in a bid to reduce reoffending and cut the massive bill for prisons.

Julian impressed upon Justice Minister, Chris Grayling that the government must look at alternatives to jail, saying the cost per prisoner is now £40,000 rising to around £100,000 for young offenders.

He raised the issue during Questions in the House of Commons today (Tuesday, September 18).

“It is very sensible to look at alternatives which will save money, in particular in regard to short term sentences,” he said.

And he asked the Minister: “Will he at least look at saving money as well as dealing better with people to make sure reoffending doesn’t happen?”

Mr Grayling agreed that the cost of prison is too high and that the best way to save money was to break the cycle of reoffending to stop people “going back to prison, back to prison, back to prison.”

He said under the present system prisoners are released with £46 in their pocket “back to the same places where they were offending before with the same people and we are surprised when they return to prison. That is what has got to change.”

Julian said later: “We have seen plenty of evidence that prison doesn’t work while at the same time costing the taxpayers of this country millions of pounds a year.

“We need to look seriously at alternative schemes, such as restorative justice schemes, where we can help prisoners to change the revolving door cycle of prison.

“Mr Grayling acknowledged that we have to break the cycle of reoffending. I hope that this government will now take this on board and act to change a system which hasn’t worked for years.”

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  • JUDE MARTIN: September 21, 2012 11:51 am

    A very welcome Question. A sensible look at reducing the cost of ourprisons is long overdue. Ken Clarke tried to focus on this before his regrettable demotion.

    Why don’t we look at countries with a more successful rehabilitation rate and a less punitive attitude? For some reason, we want to imitate the USA – privatising prisons, as in the Health Service…

    Anyway it would be good to think that we might get some rational discussion.

    thank you

    jude Sang

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