Wednesday 15 December 2010

Prison works....and pigs fly.

"Prison works" is one of those mindless slogans that sounds good if you are a keen fan of flogging people but are patently not supported by any facts.

Hardly surprising Michael Howard is at it again but disappointing Theresa May (whose recent Mac is a sensation) has joined in this attack on the entirely sensible plans of Ken Clarke and the MoJ.

If prison works how come 50% of prisoners are back in jail in a year and 70% in two years?

Unless of course you mean it works 'cos you can't burgle homes if you are in the Clink in which case we better lock up all criminals for life. Treble the MoJ budget and let's fill the land with prisons.

Having served 20 years on the Youth Court Magistrates Bench I know of few colleagues who felt that prison worked. Indeed the opposite was so often true.

That is why the work of our third sector is so crucial. Supporting rehabilitation. Work on addiction and mental health. On employing ex-offenders. Yet only 4 % of MoJ budget goes to the sector.

The plans of Ken Clarke for a "rehabilitation revolution" are both eminently sensible and the right approach. He must not be blown of course. We need to defend the plans of the MoJ.

There is some fascinating stuff going on. The Social Impact Bond idea which the Social Investment Business is discussing with MoJ is a huge opportunity. We must capitalise third sector organisations to go to scale. We have to vastly expand the work and budgets of the sector. We must close prisons to pay for it.

And finally I was fascinated to read the recent musings of one Nadine Dorries MP, who has said,

"we have mainstream core Conservative principles that for the good of the Coalition and the country we are suppressing"!

What exactly are these core principles that are not for the good of the country may I ask?

I would suggest "prison works" is just one of those core Conservative principles that is not for the good of the country! So keep on the good work Ken.
Rehabilitation works. Stick with it. And the great thing about Ken Clarke, who is a politician of the highest order, is that he will. Hush puppies are coming back!

No comments: