Bishop of Chester call for balance in way prison system is discussed and reported

On 24th January 2018 Lord Ramsbotham asked Her Majesty’s Government “how many prisons have been given action plans, or are in special measures, following inspection reports.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, bishops go into prison more often than most Members of your Lordships’ House. There are two prisons in my diocese. The Liverpool prison report is an absolute scandal, so far as I can judge. However, does the Minister agree that many prisons are functioning rather well in the circumstances they face and that there is a good deal that can be celebrated alongside the horror stories, which are indeed dreadful?

Lord Keen of Elie: I accept that there have been horror stories and we cannot but be concerned by that. As I indicated, 10 prisons are subject to special measures and receive support but others are functioning effectively. We are taking urgent steps to improve the prison estate.