The Bishop of Chelmsford asked about support for prisoners re-entering the community on 10th January 2022, during a debate on prison chaplaincy:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, on Christmas Day, I was pleased to be able to visit my local prison and young offenders’ institute in Chelmsford, where I was taking a service. I had several conversations with both prisoners and members of staff who expressed concern about ensuring continued support for those who are leaving prison and re-entering the community. As the work of multifaith community chaplaincy and indeed the Welcome Directory continues to be developed to support those leaving prison, can the Minister say what discussions there have been, if any, regarding possible funding support from HMG?
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The Lord Bishop of Carlilse asked a question on what the government is doing to promote alternatives to prison sentences, during a debate on prison capacity on 6th December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Gloucester much regrets that she is not able to be present today. I know she shares my concern over this Statement since we, like others who have spoken, believe that the emergency use of police cells for prisoners is deeply worrying. We greatly welcome the increase in the number of police officers but feel that it is connected to the larger number of people going to prison, and that that should not be the case. Initially I wanted to ask about rehabilitation, but that question has already been addressed. I accept that the question of sentences is for the courts, but can the Minister help us by saying what the Government are doing to promote community and non-custodial sentences, rather than people simply going to prison?
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The House of Lords debated the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 29th November 2022
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, growth is good and necessary, and it is clear that money does not grow on those proverbial trees. We find ourselves in extremely challenging times, and it seems to me that some of the measures that are set out in the Autumn Statement are prudent and necessary to rebalance the budget. I thank the Government for their desire to focus on supporting the poorest households, which is right and just, including their decision to increase benefits in line with inflation. Yet I have a number of concerns. I want to use my time to focus on just two key issues: first, food and feeding people, and, secondly, the criminal justice system. I declare an interest both as a trustee of Feeding Britain and as Anglican Bishop for prisons in England and Wales.
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The Bishop of Durham asked a question about the impact of prison sentences on children and families during a debate on prisoners serving indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP) on 27th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, as it happens, I was confirming in His Majesty’s Prison Holme House on Monday. One of the people I confirmed was an IPP prisoner. We talked about the desperate impact on family and children of the uncertainty that he has faced. He had been recalled, not for having committed an offence but for breaking conditions. It is very complicated. In looking at this, will His Majesty’s Government look at the impact on children and family and the support from not just the probation service but other organisations, such as, in the north-east, Nepacs and Junction 42?
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The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 27th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government, what steps they are taking to resolve the situation that 608 prisoners under Imprisonment for Public Protection are at least 10 years over their original tariff.
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The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answers on 5th September 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked Her Majesty’s Government:
Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about life imprisonment”
- how many people received a life sentence and were (1) under 18, (2) 18 to 20, (3) 21 to 24, (4) 25 to 29, (5) 30 to 34, (6) 35 to 39, (7) 40 to 49, (8) 50 to 59, (9) 60 to 69, and (10) 70 and older, at the time of sentencing in each year since 2002.
- how many people received a life sentence with a tariff of between 10 years to less than 15 years, and were (1) under 18, (2) 18 to 20, (3) 21 to 24, (4) 25 to 29, (5) 30 to 34, (6) 35 to 39, (7) 40–49, (8) 50 to 59, (9) 60 to 69, and (10) 70 and older, at the time of sentencing in each year since 2002.
- how many people received a life sentence with a tariff of between 15 years to less than 20 years, and were (1) under 18, (2) 18 to 20, (3) 21 to 24, (4) 25 to 29, (5) 30 to 34, (6) 35 to 39, (7) 40 to 49, (8) 50 to 59, (9) 60 to 69, and (10) 70 and older, at the time of sentencing in each year since 2002.
- how many people received a life sentence with a tariff of between 20 years to less than 25 years, and were (1) under 18, (2) 18 to 20, (3) 21 to 24, (4) 25 to 29, (5) 30 to 34, (6) 35 to 39, (7) 40 to 49, (8) 50 to 59, (9) 60 to 69, and (10) 70 and older, at the time of sentencing in each year since 2002.
On 12th May 2022, the House of Lords debated the Queen’s speech. The Bishop of Gloucester spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, it is wonderful to be speaking in this debate on Her Majesty’s gracious Speech. It is always a privilege to listen to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, who is a very hard act to follow. I refer to my interest stated in the register as Anglican bishop of prisons.
As has been said, we know that people are increasingly experiencing hardship in our current climate. In the gracious Speech there was an emphasis on so-called levelling up and tackling disadvantage, whether rooted in education, health, a lack of appropriate housing or low income. Often those issues intersect.
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The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answers on 24th May 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked Her Majesty’s Government how many women aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or older, are currently held in each female prison establishment.
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The Bishop of Leeds asked a question regarding releases from prisons on 21st March 2022, during a debate on safe and secure housing for released female prisoners:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, Friday releases from prison, in particular, are hugely problematic. This is particularly the case for geographically dispersed women’s prisons, because women cannot travel home in time to make a housing application with their local authority before the office closes. Are the Government aware of this specific problem, and can they offer any solutions as to what can be done to overcome it?
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On 18th May 2021 the Bishop of Gloucester took part in the fourth day of debate in the House of Lords on the Queen’s Speech. She focused on criminal justice, violence against women and girls, and online safety:
My Lords, I too look forward to the maiden speeches of the noble Baroness, Lady Fullbrook and Lady Fleet. In my few minutes, I shall briefly mention women in the criminal justice system, the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, violence against women and girls and the online safety Bill. I refer to my interests in the register, as Anglican bishop to prisons.
I begin by asking: when will we see a renewed timetable for the 2018 female offender strategy? While I welcome the implementation of some of the deliverables, analysis by the Prison Reform Trust shows that the Government have met less than half the commitments. The concordat published last year does not appear to have been progressed. Then there was that shocking announcement of 500 new prison places for women, totally at odds with the strategy’s direction to reduce the number of women in prison. What evidence is it based on, and why is the designated £150 million not being spent on women’s centres and implementing the concordat?
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