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All you need to know about prison

Here you can find over 250 posts tracking every major development in our prisons since 2011. You can read prison safety statistics, find out about prison reform plans and (often lack of progress), positive developments and abject failures. If you’re looking for something in particular, try the search box below:

The shocking state of men’s prisons

It will be interesting to see whether the appointment of Michael Gove as Justice Secretary will have any impact on this parlous state of affairs. Clearly, the problems are becoming so entrenched that it will be difficult for much positive change to take place if, as is widely feared, the MoJ takes another big hit in the current spending review whose results will be announced in November 2015.

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What rehabilitation revolution?

Nevertheless, he is forthright in saying that he shares the conclusion of the Justice Committee in attributing the main cause of this deterioration in the quality of our prisons to the financial cuts and, particularly the large reduction in the numbers of prison staff.

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Changing prisons, saving lives

Delaying action until the resource position is easier is not an option. Unless progress is made, young people will continue to die unnecessarily in our prisons and we will continue to waste countless millions of pounds in failing to rehabilitate those who could be rehabilitated

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Ten shocking facts about our prisons

The Prison Reform Trust’s Bromley Briefings are the best source of up-to-date, accurate information on everything that’s going on in our prisons. If you want to know who is being imprisoned, for doing what, in what sort of conditions…

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Ombudsman says too many vulnerable prisoners are segregated

The number of prison suicides and incidents of self-harm has risen sharply recently. Despite the best intentions of the Ombudsman, I fear it is reasonable to expect the figures to get worse and for more human lives to be needlessly lost as the Ministry of Justice embarks on another round of cuts.

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Prisoners tend to view law solely as an instrument of punishment

Christoper McDonald, a former IPP prisoner , provided the audience with insight into the reality of life on the inside, far away from the court room. ‘For about two years I stayed in a cell that was no longer than my arm span, with two to three other people in a cell,’ he explained. ‘Later on in my sentence I was represented by Lubia [Begum-Rob, joint managing solicitor at PAS], who told me I do have rights, and we could start to challenge some of the decisions. More needs to be done to inform prisoners of what they are entitled to,’ he said.

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Coaching behind bars

The prison takes away many choices and coaching give some fundamental ones back, along with hope. Not the blind hope that the whole world will miraculously change, but that they can change themselves and parts of the world around them. Some explicitly choose to become survivors not victims.

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Substance misuse and mental health in prison

Bradley found that mental health and substance misuse services in prisons did not work well together and that this situation did not improve in the five years between his two reports. RAPt’s experience is that only the minority of inmates with acute mental health problems currently receive treatment in prison, with the majority having to cope with their problems in a hostile prison environment without dedicated support.

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Reducing smoking in prison

The PHE report summarises our understanding of smoking in prison. On the one hand, limited access to tobacco can reduce how much and how often prisoners smoke as can the cost of tobacco for those surviving on a prison income.

Conversely, smoking is often seen as a coping strategy to manage the stress of imprisonment and helps to alleviate boredom. Not smoking in a culture where a large majority of people smoke can also be socially isolating. And, of course “Burn” remains one of the principal prison currencies.

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If Alex Cavendish were Justice Secretary

At the moment our prisons are a ticking time bomb that could explode into violence without warning. Frontline staff shortages and overcrowding are contributing to this explosive and toxic environment. If I were Secretary of State for Justice my first priority would be to ensure that no prison in England and Wales has less staff than it needs to operate a safe, normal regime.

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Disappointing outcomes for Peterborough and Doncaster prison PbR pilots

These are very disappointing results for the MoJ. Normally, there would be an expectation of a high level of performance from pilots with such public exposure where the partners had chosen to participate and, indeed, had championed and driven the initiative from the outset. Therefore, it is an extremely worrying sign for the new private providers of probation whose revenue will be, to an increasing extent, dependent on reducing reoffending rates, that these high-profile pilots are performing so poorly.

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A bespoke service

We understand that each client has differing needs and concerns. We can assist and discuss with you in advance the likely difficulties and challenges you will face in prison including, Sentence Mitigation Reports, categorisation, disciplinary proceedings, prison transfers, Release on Temporary Licence through to eventual release and living on licence in the community.

First time in Prison?

Steve Dagworthy, founder of Prison Consultants Limited, talks about prison life.

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