Thursday, August 28, 2008

Titan prisons:letter to Jack Straw from the Criminal Justice Alliance

The following letter, signed by Transform, was published in the Guardian today.

Other media coverage:

Guardian news
Daily Mail (complete with the seemingly mandatory hang'm and flog'm comments)

Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Secretary of State for Justice
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty

28 August 2008

Dear Secretary of State for Justice

On the day that the Government's consultation closes, we are writing to you to highlight our opposition to the building of Titan prisons.

The Government's proposals to build three Titans, each housing around 2,500 prisoners, would cement this country's position as the prison capital of western Europe, while squandering billions of pounds of taxpayers' money which could be better spent elsewhere. The proposals ignore evidence that smaller, local prisons work better than large ones, raise serious concerns about the wellbeing and safety of prisoners and prison staff, and would put at risk relationships between prisoners and their families.

The Government cannot build its way out of the current crisis in the prison system, as you have previously acknowledged, and further expansion of the prison estate would be damaging both socially and economically. Instead of rushing headlong into an expensive prison-building programme, the Government must shelve its plans for Titan prisons and instead focus on addressing the causes of the growing prison population.

The evidence is clear; Titan prisons are not the solution to the prisons crisis. As members of the Criminal Justice Alliance, a coalition of organisations working in the criminal justice system, we urge you to abandon these misguided proposals for Titan prisons before they become a reality.

Yours sincerely

Lucy Gampell, Director, Action for Prisoners' Families

Davlin Brydson, Chair, Association of Black Probation Officers

Angela Clay, Chairman, Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards

Emma Norton, Bindmans LLP

Denise Marshall, Group Co-ordinator, Birth Companions

Christopher Jones, Chair, Churches' Criminal Justice Forum

Clive Martin, Director, Clinks

Dr Katherine Rake, Director, Fawcett Society

Professor Mike Hough, Director, Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Rob Allen, Director, International Centre for Prison Studies

Deb Coles and Helen Shaw, Co-Directors, INQUEST

Sally Ireland, Senior Legal Officer (Criminal Justice), JUSTICE

Gareth Crossman, Policy Director, Liberty

Paul Cavadino, Chief Executive, NACRO

Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary, NAPO

Chris Thomas, Chief Executive, New Bridge

Andy Keen-Downs, Director, pact

Colin Moses, National Chair, Prison Officers’ Association

Juliet Lyon, Director, Prison Reform Trust

Pat Jones, Director, Prisoners' Education Trust

Alan Hooker, Director, Prisoners' Families and Friends Service

Paula Harvey, Programme Manager, Quaker Crime, Community and Justice Group

Joyce Moseley, Chief Executive, Rainer Crime Concern

Sebastian Saville, Executive Director, Release

Harriet Bailey, Chief Executive, Restorative Justice Consortium

Paul Corry, Director of Public Affairs, Rethink

Baroness Linklater, Chair, Rethinking Crime and Punishment

Kevin Ireland, Interim Chief Executive, Revolving Doors Agency

Fran Sainsbury, RSA Prison Learning Network

Sean Duggan, Director of Prisons and Criminal Justice Programme, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health

Lucie Russell, Director, SmartJustice

Gary Kernaghan, New Business Director, SOVA

Steve Rolles, Research Director, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

Bobby Cummines, Chief Executive, UNLOCK

Suzanne Sibillin, Director, Women in Prison

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Government will listen to these experts - the government have no first hand knowledge of prisoners and their families and MUST heed the advice given by these extremely knowledgeable people.

Perhaps the same group could take up the issue of Indeterminate Public Protection sentences which are killing families and families of prisoners. People in prison who have exceeded their tariff dates (especially the short tariffs) should be freed immediately. Not knowing when one will be released is soul destroying and inhumane - when one talks of hostages being tortured one thinks of what we are doing to IPP prisoners who are also being tortured by the system.