Bishop of Rochester speaks in debate on reducing levels of custodial sentences for women

“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.

Bishop of RochesterThe 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”

Bishop of Derby calls for strong partnerships between government and society to tackle serious crime

“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.

DerbyThe 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”

Prisons and the problem of indeterminate sentences – speech by Bishop of Lichfield

“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.14.03.27 Bishop of Lichfield

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”

Restorative Justice: Bishop of Peterborough Calls For Greater Use

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:14.02 Peterborough

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.


Bishop of Ripon & Leeds welcomes work of metal theft task force

On 23rd January, 2014, Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to support the metal theft task force.

R_LThe 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”

Bishop of Derby: housing people leaving prison in the interests of all

“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

Bishop of DerbyOn 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”

Bishop of Derby supports raising age of criminal responsibility

“No one is an individual—that is a modern myth. Each human being is a person who is who they are because of their relationships with others. Crime is when relationships go wrong or are handled destructively. Human beings are formed through relationships” – Bishop of Derby, 8.11.13

On 8th November 2013, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the debate on the Second Reading of Lord Dholakia’s Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill, which sought to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12. The Bishop focused his remarks on the challenges associated with treating children as entirely individual and independent units, and the associated need of providing safe and positive spaces in which children can develop socially – particularly focusing on the need for strong family units. The Bill did not progress any further than its Second Reading. 

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, for introducing this topic and I heartily endorse all that the noble Earl has said. This is a very complex issue, and we are having this debate in a national context in which public opinion wants justice to be seen to be done. A strong scapegoating mentality exists which indicates that there is also a high level of anxiety in society. The key people to be scapegoated tend to be criminals and immigrants. We have to take that part of the context seriously in having this debate. A second context, as we have heard, is the UN recommendation on the rights of the child, that the age of criminal responsibility should be at least 12. Many countries, as we have heard, go even higher than that. A third context is that there are suggestions, as there is in Ireland, of raising the age to 12, but of allowing some flexibility in dealing with serious crimes. So this is a very complex issue in an anxious society which is nervous about seeming to give positive signals to bad behaviour and social deviancy. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby supports raising age of criminal responsibility”