Bishop of Gloucester asks Government about progress on female offenders strategy

On 31st January 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government on its female offender strategy:

Female Offender Strategy

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in implementing the female offenders’ strategy.

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie) (Con): My Lords, the Female Offender Strategy, published in June 2018, outlines the Government’s long-term vision for improving outcomes for female offenders in custody and in the community. The strategy sets out a programme of work that contains a number of commitments that will take some years to implement. A new women’s policy framework was published last December, and my noble friend Lord Farmer’s review of family ties for female offenders is expected to report in the coming weeks.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I welcome that information from the Minister, which follows many positive commitments to the female offender strategy. However, we are still awaiting news of residential pilots, action to strengthen links between probation services and women’s centres, the report from the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and a national concordat. Given that many of the strategy’s commitments have no clear timescales—indeed, in some cases the suggested deadline has already passed—how does the Minister plan to effectively monitor progress and stay on track?

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government about progress on female offenders strategy”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about church and grassroots efforts to tackle violent crime

On 15th November 2018 Lord Bach asked the Government ‘what steps they intend to take to strengthen the ability of police forces in England and Wales to tackle knife and other serious and violent crime in addition to funding provided by the Early Intervention Youth Fund.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about church and grassroots efforts to tackle violent crime”

Bishop of London asks Government about purposeful activity for prisoners, and role of chaplaincy in rehabilitation

On 15th October 2018 the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a question she had tabled to Government on prisons. Her follow up question and those of other Members is reproduced below:

The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they plan to ensure that every prisoner can participate in purposeful activity during their sentence.

 Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, the introduction of offender management in custody and the associated staffing means that prisons will be better equipped to run fuller regimes with more opportunities for purposeful activity. Our education and employment strategy, launched in May, will create a system where prisoners are on a path to employment through increased opportunities to gain experience of work in communities while released on temporary licence

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. In Prisons Week, does he accept that continuous efforts must be made to ensure that our prisons are places of safety for those serving their sentences, and are places of hope for those who intend to avoid reoffending once released? Although I welcome the constructive use of additional staff through the promising new offender management in custody scheme, I invite the Minister to acknowledge the important role that chaplaincies, community chaplaincies, charities and churches can play in the rehabilitation of offenders. Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about purposeful activity for prisoners, and role of chaplaincy in rehabilitation”

Bishop of Chester asks Government to clarify appropriate use of term ‘victim’, in response to statement on new Victim Strategy

On 10th September 2018 a statement was repeated in the House of Lords about the Government’s victims strategy. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, responded to the statement with a follow-up question:  

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I wholeheartedly endorse and support what has been said about this strategy. I know from my pastoral work how the effects of crime can resonate throughout people’s lives, not least when it comes to sexual abuse that happened a long time ago. Nevertheless, can the noble and learned Lord comment on the term “victim” and when its use is appropriate and when it is not? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government to clarify appropriate use of term ‘victim’, in response to statement on new Victim Strategy”

Bishop of St Albans asks for wider debate on use of facial recognition technology

On 1st March 2018 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb led a debate in the House of Lords on her question to Her Majesty’s Government ‘what proposals they have for the use of facial recognition technology in security and policing.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

 The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, for this debate. My guess is that most of us see some very useful ways in which this technology can be used, but many people are also concerned that it may have other uses as well, which they are less keen on.  Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks for wider debate on use of facial recognition technology”

Bishop of Peterborough asks Government to review anonymity in cases of criminal accusation

PeterboroughFeb2017bOn the 22nd January 2017 Lord Lexden asked the Government “whether they intend to review the law governing the naming of deceased individuals against whom criminal allegations have been made.” In his follow up question Lord Lexden raised the case of the deceased Bishop George Bell and the recent Carlile Review. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, also asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, this has been a very difficult case, but Bishop Bell is not the only person whose reputation has been severely damaged by such accusations—some are dead and some still alive. I urge the Minister and the Government to take very seriously the call for a major review of anonymity. In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks Government to review anonymity in cases of criminal accusation”

Bishop of Gloucester asks about Parole Board funding and due diligence in case of release of John Worboys

On 9th January 2018 the Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie) repeated a Statement made in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Justice on the Parole Board’s decision to release John Worboys and the Government’s response to the issues raised by the case. The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I thank the Minister for bringing this issue to the House and for the pertinent points made on this important subject. What action are the Government taking to ensure that the Parole Board is adequately funded so that due diligence can be performed before decisions are made? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about Parole Board funding and due diligence in case of release of John Worboys”

Bishop of Southwark asks about assaults, self-harm, time in cells and staffing levels at Wandsworth Prison

On 9th January 2018 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions about Wandsworth Prison, which is based within his diocese:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of prisoners on custodial sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth, other than segregated prisoners, spent at least 22 hours locked in their cell on any day in the latest month for which figures are available.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of prisoners on custodial sentence at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were unlocked for at least six hours each weekday in the latest month for which figures are available.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many serious assaults by inmates on one another at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were recorded in each of the last two years for which figures are available.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many incidents of self-harm by inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth were recorded in each of the last two years for which figures are available. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about assaults, self-harm, time in cells and staffing levels at Wandsworth Prison”

Bishop of Leeds asks about quality control for interpretation services in criminal proceedings

On 29th November 2017 Baroness Coussins asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they have revised their target for annual budget savings on the cost of providing interpretation and translation services in criminal proceedings, following the allocation of the latest contract for those services to thebigword; and if so, what is their new target.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, there is clearly a difference between interpretation and translation. I speak as a former professional linguist. What about quality control? Will the Minister comment on that? Being able to deal with a language is not the same as being a competent interpreter, sometimes of very delicate matters. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about quality control for interpretation services in criminal proceedings”

Bishop of Chester calls for NHS to be given responsibility for those in police care

On 30th October 2017 a Government statement was repeated in the Lords on the publication of Dame Elish Angiolini’s Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, and the Government’s substantive response. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a question after the statement:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I very much welcome the report; I have simply read the executive summary. It is obviously important to respond well after death occurs, but equally, arguably, it is even more important to put in place measures to reduce the possibility of death. This is where the healthcare provision in the police service is especially important. Given that the NHS has a direct responsibility to provide healthcare in prisons but does not have an equivalent responsibility for those in police care, and given that for half the people the cause of death is alcohol and drug-related, is there not a need to join up A&E, the police, the whole NHS and police support? It is no doubt complex, but at the heart of this lies quite a simple issue. This ought to be brought within the ambit of the NHS, which is the case with prisons. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester calls for NHS to be given responsibility for those in police care”