Bishop of St Albans asks about investment in women’s centres as an alternative to prison

On 8th February 2018 Lord Lee of Trafford asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the size of the prison population and conditions within prisons.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about women in prison:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Ministry of Justice shows that women’s centres have a statistically significant effect on decreasing reoffending rates, are substantially cheaper than keeping women in custody and often allow families to stay together. Will the Minister use his department’s evidence to invest in women’s centres that treat women holistically as the best way forward for many women? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about investment in women’s centres as an alternative to prison”

Bishop of Chester call for balance in way prison system is discussed and reported

On 24th January 2018 Lord Ramsbotham asked Her Majesty’s Government “how many prisons have been given action plans, or are in special measures, following inspection reports.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, bishops go into prison more often than most Members of your Lordships’ House. There are two prisons in my diocese. The Liverpool prison report is an absolute scandal, so far as I can judge. However, does the Minister agree that many prisons are functioning rather well in the circumstances they face and that there is a good deal that can be celebrated alongside the horror stories, which are indeed dreadful?

Continue reading “Bishop of Chester call for balance in way prison system is discussed and reported”

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 Rochester stresses importance of family in helping prisoners reform

On 11th October 2017 the House of Lords held a short debate on a motion from Lord Farmer, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in implementing the report from the Farmer Review, The Importance of Prisoners’ Family Ties for Reform: Preventing Reoffending and Reducing Intergenerational Crime”. Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke in the debate in his capacity as lead Bishop for Prisons: 

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, welcome this report and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and his team for producing it and for providing the opportunity for this debate today. The report itself, as noble Lords who have read ​it will know, is comprehensive, cogently argued, full of detailed supporting material and, importantly, highlights a number of innovative responses in various places across the prison estate. In summary, a clear case is made for nurturing healthy relationships for those in prison and the connection between that and rehabilitation and reoffending. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester stresses importance of family in helping prisoners reform”

Bishop of Southwark says prison staff shortages need to be urgently addressed

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Chrisdtopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, is to be thanked for this timely debate. As ​some noble Lords are aware, the diocese of Southwark contains five major prison establishments: Belmarsh, Brixton, Thameside, Wandsworth and Isis—though I hasten to add that that last name relates to the river goddess. It is my practice to visit them at the invitation of each Church of England chaplain who holds my licence. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark says prison staff shortages need to be urgently addressed”

Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Rochester, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for prisons, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown, for bringing this debate. I rather wish that the slight slip of the tongue of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, in first referring to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, as a former Minister for prisons had been true, but there we are.

I recall a visit in my capacity as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, to one of our prisons and encountering a young man who was visibly distressed and disturbed, sitting against a wall with his hands over his ears, unable to cope with the general noise and hubbub on a prison wing—not least an overcrowded prison wing. I talked to one of the officers on that wing, who was relatively newly recruited and new in post; he was clearly there because of a really positive motivation, wanting to make a difference and with a vocation to work in the Prison Service. However, he was very conscious that because of responsibility to the whole wing, he was unable to give that distressed young prisoner the focused attention that was required. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health”