The Bishop of Gloucester asked a question on the rhetoric used emphasising arrest and imprisonment, rather than rehabilitation, during a debate on the promised uplift in numbers of police on 2nd May 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, it is very good to hear the Minister speak about police uplift. I am certainly not asking for more and more but I am asking for more join-up. I am really concerned about the “we are coming for you” rhetoric being part of the solution, and the sense that if we simply arrest more people and send more people to prison, we will reduce reoffending. There was nothing in the data about the high rate of reoffending. Unless we look at what is going on in our prisons, at how we rehabilitate people and address some of the systemic issues relating to why people offend in the first place, we will not be doing that join-up across the criminal justice system. I am really concerned about the rhetoric whereby, if you arrest more people and lock them up for longer, our streets will be safer; the data simply does not reflect that. Will the Minister say more about the join-up across the whole of the criminal justice system?
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con, Home Office): The right reverend Prelate has made some very good points. The public would expect charge, arrest and prevention rates to increase from the current levels. However, without work on reoffending and the criminal justice system in the round, as the right reverend Prelate suggests, I think that things will fail to improve as much as we would all like. I cannot give her any precise details but, when it comes to the drug strategy, work is being done between the Ministry of Justice, the criminal justice system more generally and the Home Office on reoffending and referring people to preventive programmes at an earlier stage. That should yield some results.
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