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Jennifer Kay National Student Officer Why the prison system is not working.

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Presentation on theme: "Jennifer Kay National Student Officer Why the prison system is not working."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jennifer Kay National Student Officer Why the prison system is not working

2 ‘The first real principle which should guide anyone trying to establish a good system of prisons would be to prevent as many people as possible getting there at all’ - Winston Churchill Before we start… ‘The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons’ - Fyodor Dostoevsky

3 What is the Howard League? Less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison

4 How does the Howard League work? Membership 4,000 members Rely on their funding to keep charity running Research Commission academics Variety of topics, from deaf prisoners to deaths on probation Network for junior academics Campaigns Topics: women, children, policing, deaths in custody Lobby MPs Articles in press Produce policy documents National events Student groups U R Boss Legal team Represent children and young people in custody Prison, public and criminal law Free helpline in all children’s prisons

5 Campaigns and successes… 1905 Thomas Homes became Secretary of the Howard Association and campaigned for juvenile courts, time to pay fines, and special provision for mentally and physically unfit prisoners. It promoted probation and restitution for victims. 1920 Howard Association assisted in the formation of the Magistrates’ Association. 1925 Howard League pressed for standard minimum rules for treatment of prisoners and renewed pressure for the abolition of corporal punishment. 1940Howard League initiated correspondence courses for prisoners. 1948 Corporal punishment was abolished. 1969 The death penalty was abolished, nearly forty years after the Howard League first campaigned on the issue. 1970Howard League campaigned for greater use of reparation, abolition of prison censorship and for presumption in favour of bail.

6 Campaigns and successes… 1990Improved procedures on suicide prevention and Inspector’s inquiry follow Howard League campaign 1991Abolition of prison for 14 year olds, announced by Home Secretary at Howard League annual conference 1996 The Howard League ran the campaign to stop pregnant prisoners being shackled. This led to the Home Secretary putting a stop to the practice. 1997 The Howard League published Lost Inside, the first ever research on girls in prison. The research provided the basis of a legal challenge which forced a promise to end to the use of prison for girls aged fifteen and sixteen. 2000s Citizenship and Crime project working with 9,000 children aged 11 – 15, involving 1,000 adult volunteers to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. 2005Barbed, a unique graphic design enterprise, is launched at Coldingley Prison. The Howard League has always campaigned for real work in prisons.

7 Key issues: 1.Reform prison sentences 2.Investing in the community 3.Justice for children and young people 4.Change inside prisons Useful for studies and available to download from the website for free! The agenda today

8 How many people are in prison in England and Wales today?

9 Sources: tickets-more-anger-as-20000-miss-out-for-second-time.html The number of jobs that will be lost in the NHS over the next five years (53,000) The maximum capacity of Wembley Stadium (90,000) The number of athletes who competed at London 2012 (11,000) The population of Liechtenstein (36,500)

10 86,702 (In 1994, the average prison population was 48,631)

11 How much does it cost to keep one person in prison for one year?

12 The cost of a new Mini (£11,000) Sources: Debt that the average student will graduate from university with (£23,000) The cost of running one art exhibition in London for six weeks (£40,000) (The Zabludowicz Collection, if you’re interested)

13 £42,000 per prison place per year

14 What do you get for your money? Overcrowding Violence Worst in Europe Re-offending Vulnerable people Strangeways Riots, 1990

15 Overcrowding Over 12,000 prisoners are being held two to a cell designed for one Violence 15,000 acts of violence in one year Worst in Europe The English & Welsh prison rate in 2008 was 153 prisoners per 100,000 France (96) Germany (89) Republic of Ireland (76) Norway (69) Finland (64) Iceland (44)

16 Re-offending

17 CharacteristicGeneral PopulationPrison population Taken into care2%27% Excluded from school2%49% Men, 33% Women No qualifications15%52% Men, 71% Women Homeless0.9%32% Unemployed5%67% Suffer from two or more mental illnesses 5% Men, 2% Women72% Men, 70% Women Drug Use13% Men, 8% Women66% Men, 55% Women Suicide Rate114 per 100,000 8.3 per 100,000 Source: Social Exclusion Unit, 2002 Vulnerable people

18 Women Over half of women in prison have suffered domestic abuse One in three have been victims of sexual abuse Children Two out of five girls and one out of four boys in prison report violence at home One in three girls and one in 20 boys in custody have histories of sexual abuse 40% of children in prison have been homeless

19 More crime?  1997: 1,667,915 people found guilty  2007: 1,778,813 people found guilty ( In 2007, nearly 136,000 people were sentenced to custody; this is an increase of 40% since 1997. (Ministry of Justice, 2009)

20 So why do we have more people in prison? Longer sentences for the same crimes  Average time spent in prison has increased by 14% since 2000 More people being sent to prison for crimes that would have previously received community sentences  78% increase IPP sentences (Indeterminate sentence for public protection)  The proportion of the sentenced prison population serving IPP or Life has increased from 9% in 1995 to 19% in 2009 19% increase in those sent to prison for breaches of parole licence and community supervision

21 Greater criminalisation

22 So what’s the alternative?

23 Divert some groups of people away from prison entirely: Children Women Change how we work inside prisons: Safe conditions Real work Reform prison sentences Prison for less than one year is ineffective Stop the revolving door Invest in the community Promote community sentences An intensive, individual solution

24 Community sentences

25 What is a community sentence? ‘Community Order’ (s.147 CJA 2003) One or more of twelve possible requirements, i.e. unpaid work or drug rehabilitation (s.177 CJA 2003) To be completed over a defined period Most common order – a single requirement obliging the offender to complete a specified number of unpaid work hours Supervised by the National Probation Service

26 Case study: Sheffield Community Payback Problem: A lunch club in Sheffield which served 300 old age pensioners could not cope with demand Solution: Social services request help from South Yorkshire Probation Service Sheffield Probation Lunch Clubs is formed Situation: Flooding meant roads were blocked in Sheffield, so service users were told not to come in that day. Outcome: Service users instead all put on their wellies, made it to the lunch club and worked longer hours until every pensioner had their lunch.

27 Why community sentences? 1. Community sentences cut crime: Over 61% of those sentenced to { "@context": "", "@type": "ImageObject", "contentUrl": "", "name": "Why community sentences. 1.", "description": "Community sentences cut crime: Over 61% of those sentenced to

28 What do we do about it? Campaigning for change Community Programmes Awards Open Days Website Student groups Members

29 Thank you for listening. Any questions? Howard League for Penal Reform @thehowardleague

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