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Prisons in the UK are “to be full by Easter’ -an alarming situation for the government

What is going on inside UK prisons

Justice Secretary Mr Alex Chalk blames overcrowding in UK prisons based on several factors: criminals serving longer sentences under tougher punishment laws and the refusal to follow other countries’ lead by releasing low-risk prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry of Justice figures, as of March 8th, the prison population was 88,220. There is a little over 89,000 in operational capacity; according to the Howard League, prisons should not house more than 79,597 inmates. 

According to the chief inspector of HM prisons, Charlie Taylor, has called for the cause of concern and the government to act on this. He said, “The government must begin treating the situation more seriously if governors are to be required to handle more inmates with the same number of staff members.” This will make it more difficult to achieve the much-needed improvements in meaningful activity and start implementing changes like more staff being recruited, and experienced staff in mental health care and other related areas.  Taking the issue of remand seriously, Charlie mentions that he “recently came across a man who had been stuck on remand for more than three years”, this only causes an increase in overcrowded prisons and reception prisons across the country.

According to Sky News, an extension was announced on Monday that has set the tone of prisoners to be “released between 35 and 60 days before the end of their sentence, to try and ease overcrowding pressures in jails in England and Wales.” This could most certainly help the overcrowding, but will it be put forth for a long term or short term predicament?


Why do people keep reoffending 

According to Tuxtra, individuals who re-offend are increasing each year, as 67% of inmates will offend within a year of being released. For 67% of offenders, the research has shown that there are many underlying factors for them to re-offend time and time again. Some of these reasons include childhood trauma, schooling issues, family issues, drug use, mental health issues, accommodation, and employment.

 The government needs to do more since, as Charlie Taylor mentions “the more prisoners squeezed into already overcrowded prisons will mean more deprivation, squalor and the risk of further violence” as the number of deaths and the number of individuals self-harming and assaulting have risen exponentially.

Edited by: Jaya Jha

Photo Source: Pinterest

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