Thank you for contacting me about prison reform.
People who commit serious crimes are sent to prison as punishment, but they must also be places of safety and rehabilitation. We must turn prisons from places of mere containment into places of discipline, hard work, and self-improvement, where offenders get the education and skills they need to find work and turn their back on crime for good. For too long reoffending rates have remained too high, and cost society an estimated £15 billion a year.
The Prison Safety and Reform White Paper sets out a clear plan for reform, and these reforms will be delivered through operational changes without introducing new legislation. But work to make prisons true places of rehabilitation is already under way. £1.3 billion is being invested to replace ageing and ineffective prisons with up to 10,000 modern prison places. An additional 3,000 prison officers have also been recruited, bolstering the safety and security of prisons.
Measures to tackle drug use in our prisons have been introduced including new tests which can identify psychoactive substances and more than 300 specialist dogs who have been trained to detect new forms of illegal substances. Tough legislation is also in place to crack down on individuals who aim to profit from providing inmates with drugs. To address the illicit use of mobile phones, the Ministry of Justice is working with mobile network operators and is equipping every prison in England and Wales with technology to strengthen searching and security, including portable detection poles that can be deployed at fixed points such as reception, and extra portable signal detectors to use on the wings to support searches.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Updated: October 2018