The battle for prison reform – so far


This post and the accompanying infographic was published in summer 2016 and was intended to provide a dynamic and interactive timeline of the government’s prison reform initiative which was launched by Michael Gove and David Cameron after the 2015 general election and formed the centre piece of the Queen’s Speech to parliament in May 2016.

Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech delivered on 21 June 2017) confirmed the official end to prison reform as a political priority with the Prisons and Courts Bill which was suspended in the final stages of going through parliament when the Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election confined to the dustbin of history.

While there will be new legislation to facilitate court modernisation; there will be no new law enshrining the purpose of prison as rehabilitation or giving the prison inspector and Prisons and Probation Ombudsman more formal powers.

David Lidington, the Justice Secretary, has vowed in an open letter that prison reform will continue but there is no denying that dropping the accompanying legislation takes momentum out of the process.

The timeline below now serves as a memorial to an opportunity missed in the words of Prison Chief Inspector Peter Clarke:

Clicking on the text attached to any of the dates will take you to more detail of that event.

[Infographic last updated on 22 June 2017]


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