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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 Prisoners’ Education Trust justice priorities

If we all want people to leave prison and make a positive contribution to society, why not enable them to start during their sentence? I would make it a priority to ensure prison staff work together with prisoners to improve rehabilitation by giving them more responsibility, using their talents and encouraging them to help others with roles such as peer mentors, student council representatives and learning champions.

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Drugs in Prison

Although it is obvious that the main reason that such large quantities of drugs get into prison is to feed the demand of the many dependent drug users inside, it has long been a significant concern that as many as one in five heroin users took the drug for the first time in custody.

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Justice Committee highly critical of penal policy

The Committee highlights under-resourcing again and says that unless staffing shortages are addressed and the backlog of risk assessments cleared, the new probation providers will be hampered “considerably” in their efforts to provide a better through-the-gate service and reduce reoffending.

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Which countries imprison the most people?

As you can see, Britain (this chart averages rates for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) imprisons substantially more people (147 per 100,000) than the OECD norm of 115. I have to confess to being surprised that New Zealand is such a punitive society.

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Who’s taking drugs into prison?

Cuts in public expenditure have resulted in very well-publicised shortages of prison staff. It may well be that these figures fall in 2014/15 , not because there are less drugs getting into our prisons, but because there are less prison staff to detect them.

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28% released prisoners have benefits removed

Disappointingly, and somewhat bizarrely, the evaluation was not able to provide information on the core outcome of whether released prisoners were helped to find work by the Work Programme, apparently because the DWP did not require providers to provide separate statistics for this group.

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Reducing imprisonment AND crime

Over recent years most US states have reduced the amount they use incarceration (driven in great part by economic concerns) and have found that crime rates have gone down. Indeed, as this infographic from the Pew Foundation shows, those states which have cut the use of imprisonment have seen their crime rates fall further than those that haven’t:

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Stopping the use of phones in prison

However, new mobile jamming equipment trialled in Scotland in Spring 2014 is reported to be more successful with just over 200 mobiles detected in HMP Shotts and HMP Glenochil during the first six weeks – more than double the amount confiscated in the whole of the previous year.

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Crime pays for private prisons

The infographic below shows what big business private prisons have become in the USA. As you can see, the number of private prisons has grown exponentially in the last 20 years.

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We still imprison too many people for using drugs

You can see from the table that 281 people were sent to prison for possessing a Class C drug (Anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, GHB, GBL, piperazines (BZP), and khat) despite having no previous convictions and a further 212 who had just one previous – bear in mind that 30% of British men have a criminal conviction by the age of 30.

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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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