“It is disturbing when the Bar Council says that when combined with other recent government measures for changing the law of judicial review, these changes, if enacted in their current form, will immunise government and other public authorities from effective legal challenge” – Bishop of Oxford, 30/6/14
On 30th June 2014, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. During his speech, he focused on two particular areas of concern – the proper care of troubled children and the role of ‘secure colleges’ and the need for a fair and effective system of judicial review and legal aid to be available to all, regardless of their material situation.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I am not among those who decry the frequency with which criminal justice Bills come along. The world is changing fast and the shapes assumed by criminality change no less quickly. It is important to respond to change and to take care that the unchanging core of justice—a British value if ever there was one, as well as a Biblical value—is honoured both in the detail and in the overall direction of policy on the criminal law and its enforcement. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford raises concerns about access to justice and care of troubled children during debate on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill”
“It is undoubtedly the case that the female prison population disproportionately includes those who face huge challenges in their lives. It is also clear that prison is not the best place to address many of the issues that these people face” – Bishop of Rochester, 26.6.14
On 26th June 2014, the Bishop of Rochester and Bishop to HM Prisons, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, took part in Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill’s short debate on the measures being taken to reduce the number of women given custodial sentences. He focused his remarks on the role of community-based schemes to reduce rates of re-offending and called on the Government to look at how such projects can have a positive impact on the public purse, society and families affected by such sentences.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Healy, for initiating this debate. Your Lordships will be pleased to know that a number of the points that I was going to make have already been made, so I will resist the temptation to make them all over again. Indeed, many of your Lordships will have had the briefings from various organisations that give the statistics, and so forth. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester speaks in debate on reducing levels of custodial sentences for women”
“This modern crime is not just about technical ingenuity; it is about people choosing the freedom to abuse others and society” – Bishop of Derby, 16/6/14
On 16th June 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Serious Crime Bill. In his speech, he addressed the Bill’s provisions to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking – having served on the Joint Committee which provided the pre-legislative scrutiny to the Modern Slavery Bill – and also the need for joined-up work across government and civil society to challenge the sub-culture of exploitation and greed that drives organised crime and criminality.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I very much welcome this Bill and think it is timely and appropriate. I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and his colleagues at the Home Office on pointing us in this direction. Noble Lords will have seen in the briefing that it is based on a strategy described as the four Ps: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. For somebody like me, such laboured alliteration might indicate an overambitious sermon and I want to check the level of the ambition and what might be appropriate.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for strong partnerships between government and society to tackle serious crime”
“I spent some time recently with an intelligent and engaging Somali prisoner …This man was given an 18-month tariff, but last Christmas was his ninth in prison. What an injustice, and what a huge expense.” – Bishop of Lichfield
On 27th March 2014 the Bishop of Lichfield took part in a debate tabled by Lord Wigley, ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address the position of individuals serving indeterminate sentences on public protection grounds who have already passed their tariff’.
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for his initiative and to the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillips, for their very helpful introductions.
As a general principle, it is accepted in this country that people should be sent to prison because they have been convicted of an offence rather than because of the risk that they will offend. Indeterminate tariffs are even now available for the most serious offences, in the form of life sentences, and extended sentences now provide a way to manage and contain risk in relation to those convicted of serious violent and sexual offences which do not call for a life sentence. Continue reading “Prisons and the problem of indeterminate sentences – speech by Bishop of Lichfield”
Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty’s Government how many offenders received multiple cautions in the past year; and what plans they have to review the guidance to the police on the use of cautions for serious crimes.
The Bishop of Peterborough asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, the Minister mentioned restorative justice. Does he agree that, alongside limited use of cautions, a greater use of restorative justice interventions could be of great help, both in reducing reoffending and in supporting victims?
Lord Faulks: My Lords, I agree with the right reverent Prelate. There is a great case for restorative justice in appropriate cases, and it is indeed an option for it to be part of the conditional caution. There is increasing approval in this House and outside of its use.
On 23rd January, 2014, Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to support the metal theft task force.
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, the metal theft task force has been of inestimable value in checking the epidemic of lead theft from churches. Stripping of lead from church roofs has caused extensive rain damage to historic interiors. Will the Minister consult English Heritage, the Churches Conservation Trust and the cathedrals and church buildings division of the Archbishops’ Council as to how the destruction of our heritage can be combated and the work of the task force maintained? Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon & Leeds welcomes work of metal theft task force”
“It seems to me that the connection between housing and a lower reoffending rate is clear and it would be in the interests of government, society and prisoners if we could maximise the enabling of people leaving prison to be housed, giving stability of place and of relationship” – The Bishop of Derby
On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Derby took part in a debate on the what assessment the Government have made of the impact on reoffending rates of providing stable accommodation for those leaving prison. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby: housing people leaving prison in the interests of all”