Anne Owers, Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales writes in today’s Guardian about her concerns at cutting investment in prisons.
As she notes, however, the issue of resources for, as she puts it “not prison” is also a critical one.
But prison alone can’t fix problems that were long in the making and will not disappear just because of a certificate, an offending behaviour programme or a space in a hostel. So investing in prisons is not enough; we need to invest in ‘not prison’. I said it eight years ago when I became chief inspector, and it remains true. We need, as the all-party Justice Committee said recently, to “shift resources away from incarceration towards rehabilitation and prevention”.
She also notes the importance of inspection in order to cast light into places where few outsiders tread.
Both points should also be taken seriously by policy-makers here, not just within the Department of Justice, but across all aspects of social, education and health policy.