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Mayor Welcomes PM’s Prison Reforms

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David Cameron visits HMP Onley where he observes education and work placement programmes run by Halfords and the hospitality sector.

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, welcomes Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to reform the prison system….reports Asian Lite News

David Cameron visits HMP Onley where he observes education and work placement programmes run by Halfords and the hospitality sector.
David Cameron visits HMP Onley where he observes education and work placement programmes run by Halfords and the hospitality sector.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced to set up six “reform prisons”  in England and Wales as part of a pilot to tackle high levels of violence and re-offending. The prime minister also announced plans to give more autonomy to governors over operation and budgets.

Cameron said the new powers will speed up the deportation of foreign inmates and plans for all jails to be assessed through league tables.

Penal charities said reforms would not work if prisoners were “crammed into filthy institutions with no staff”.

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd welcomed the move

Tony Lloyd Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner (File)
Tony Lloyd Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner (File)

“While I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement to establish ‘reform prisons’ and agree that some of our prisons need an overhaul, this is rhetoric peddled by this Government for a number of years, with numerous promises to reform the prison system,” the Mayor said. “It will be interesting to see the detail of these proposals and whether it will benefit the communities of Greater Manchester.

“I have always been an advocate of rehabilitation where this is possible. Of course, for those who have committed heinous crimes or continue to offend, prison is the right place. But it is not always the right place for those who commit crime because of deep-rooted issues such as drug and alcohol abuse or mental ill health. These are the people stuck on a cycle of reoffending, serving short and frequent sentences in custody and more needs to be invested in alternatives to custody.

“For example in Greater Manchester, police, probation, health and other agencies now work closely with the region’s network of women’s centres and voluntary organisations, and the community, to help women offenders tackle issues such as domestic abuse, mental health and substance abuse and break the cycle of reoffending.

David Cameron visits HMP Onley where he observes education and work placement programmes run by Halfords and the hospitality sector.
David Cameron visits HMP Onley where he observes education and work placement programmes run by Halfords and the hospitality sector.

“It’s work like this that is giving people a pathway away from crime, reducing reoffending and making our communities better and safer. If the Government is serious about overhauling our prison system and giving autonomy to prison governors, it must insist they work with the GM family if it really wants to reduce reoffending.”

Downing Street said the creation of the “reform prisons” from existing jails would happen by the end of the year, although it did not name any locations.

Mr Cameron said “current levels of prison violence, drug-taking and self-harm should shame us all”, with a typical week seeing 600 incidents of self-harm, at least one suicide and 350 assaults including 90 on staff.

In what he described as the “biggest shake-up of prisons since the Victorian era”, he said prisoners should be seen as “potential assets to be harnessed” and the “failure of our system today is scandalous”.