Actions and Detail Panel
Prison Safety and Reform: Restoring Stability, Transforming Lives
Tue 27 June 2017, 08:30 – 16:30 BST
“This is a blueprint for the biggest overhaul of our prisons in a generation” – Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Foreword to Prison and Reform White Paper.
The Prisons Safety and Reform White Paper sets out the government proposals to invest £1.3bn in new prisons over the next five years and plans for over 2,100 extra officers to be in place by 2018 at a cost of £104m a year. Our conference agenda will explore how stability to prisons can be restored through improved safety and security, developing and recruiting staff and empowering prison governors and leaders.
There is a growing crisis in the prison service. Official figures from the Ministry of Justice show a new high of 65 assaults in jails every day. Assaults on prison staff have risen to their highest level on record with 5,954 assaults in the year to June, an increase of 43%. 697 of these cases were recorded as serious. Self-inflicted deaths had risen by 28% and in the same period 321 people died in prison custody, an increase of 30%. Staff shortages, out-of-date prison facilities and rise in the number of prisoners have led to a system that is under sustained and serious pressure. These stark figures lay bare the urgent need for prison reform.
A key focus of the white paper reforms is offering frontline officers more support by boosting staffing levels to make prisons safe and more secure. Staff and leaders will be supported to develop their skills helping to resolve tension before violence breaks out, carry out searches for weapons and drugs, and building mentor relationships with offenders. An ambitious £1.3bn prison building programme will see 10,000 places created in modern, efficient facilities and the worst performing jails to be closed. Alongside improved working conditions plans aim to give governors and leaders more flexibility and greater autonomy to reform institutions and improve outcomes for offenders. From April 2017 governors will be able to choose behavioural programmes, commission healthcare service jointly with NHS managers and gain control of education budgets.
Prison Safety and Reform: Restoring Stability, Transforming Lives will explore how to implement the proposals for prison reform and help drive forward improvements in prison and supporting services. The challenge of transforming lives and creating purposeful centres of reform requires a huge structural and cultural change, this conference agenda will support those working within and supporting the prison system to raise standards and make our prisons places of safety and reform.