PRISONS AND PROBATION SERVICE – Prisons as Correction Facilities
Labour Manifesto 2017:
Labour is tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, but we won’t make the lives of workers in the criminal justice system tougher. Prison officers, probation officers and other workers need the resources to do their jobs safely, effectively and successfully.
Our prisons are overcrowded. Staffing levels are too low. The situation is dangerous and violence against prison officers is rising. Riots and disturbances in our prisons are increasing. Prison escapes cause distress to people living near prisons.
Labour government will publish annual reports on prisoner-staff ratios, with a view to maintaining safety and ending overcrowding.
We will recruit 3,000 more prison officers and review the training and professional development available. We will publish prison officer to prisoner ratios for all prisons. Our proposal to lift the public sector pay cap will help to increase the recruitment and retention of both prison officers and probation officers. Re-offending rates are too high. The Conservatives talked of a rehabilitation revolution, and then just gave up. Their proposal now is to lock up more and more individuals, ignoring the evidence that our prisons are too often dumping grounds for people who need treatment more than they need punishment. Labour will insist on personal rehabilitation plans for all prisoners.
Prison should always be a last resort – the state’s most severe sanction for serious offences. It should never be a substitute for failing mental health services, or the withdrawal of funding from drug treatment centres. We will review the provision of mental health services in prisons. Under a Labour government, there will be no new private prisons and no public sector prisons will be privatised.
Labour’s innovative models of youth justice successfully turned round the lives of many young people, steering them away from crime and towards more constructive ways. In government, we will again continue to innovate and incentivise local authorities, police forces and probation services to engage effectively with young people at risk of drifting into anti-social or criminal behaviours. We will embed restorative justice practices across all youth offending institutions.
The part-privatisation of probation services has already failed.
Labour will review the role of Community Rehabilitation Companies.
The Conservatives bulldozed changes to the probation service through despite warnings that they had not been tested and were founded on a weak evidence base.