Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to provide more resources for prisoner rehabilitation

On 12th March 2019 Baroness Pidding asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the case for ensuring that prisons are places of rehabilitation.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, given the recent publication by the Ministry of Justice of figures showing a record level of the incidence of self-harm by prisoners, a record level of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and a 29% rise in assaults on prison staff, will the Minister acknowledge that we need not only a major reduction in the size of the prison population but increases per capita in resources on a scale not yet contemplated by Her Majesty’s Government? This would give rehabilitation the priority that many now see as an absolute imperative. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to provide more resources for prisoner rehabilitation”

Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders

On 6th February 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Offensive Weapons Bill in its third day of Committee. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Chrisine Hardman spoke against Government amendments to create new Knife Crime Prevention Orders. The amendments were withdrawn following the debate, but the Minister indicated they were likely to be returned to again at a later stage:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: Before becoming Bishop of Newcastle, I was an archdeacon in south-east London. In my archdeaconry, sadly, was Eltham, where Stephen Lawrence died. I do not, therefore, underestimate the sheer heartbreak and devastation of knife crime, particularly when young people are involved. This crime is growing and growing. I have sat with families whose children have been victims of knife crime. I have officiated at a funeral where that has been the case. The circles of devastation and heartbreak just go on and on. I do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem; nevertheless, I object to this amendment and hope that it will be withdrawn, so that there is more time to reflect on it. Continue reading “Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders”

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 Gloucester asks Government to increase support for children with a parent in prison

gloucester071117-bOn the 30th October 2018 the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled, on Government action to increase support given to children with a parent in prison. The exchange, including the follow-up questions of other Members, is reproduced below:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to support the children of prisoners.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con): My Lords, having a parent in custody can have a very significant impact on a child. We must understand the diverse needs of these vulnerable children and provide the necessary support. For example, recent government reforms mean that prison governors now have the budget and the flexibility to commission family services that work for their prisons and in their communities.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: In 95% of cases where a mother receives a custodial sentence, a child has to move home. Unlike a child in care who moves home, the child of someone in custody has no guarantee of a place at the local school, and the person looking after that child receives no financial support. Will the Minister commit to identifying children of those in custody as a specific group, and ensuring that they and their carers receive the necessary support? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government to increase support for children with a parent in prison”

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 Gloucester leads debate on positive impact of women’s centres in the justice system

On the 12th of September The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, led a debate in the House of Lords on a motion ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the ability of women’s centres to improve outcomes in the justice system’.  Her speech introducing the debate,  and the response of the Minister, are reproduced below. The speeches by other Members contributing to the debate can be seen at Parliament.uk 

Gloucester071117 bThe Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, it is a great honour and privilege to introduce this debate. I thank all noble Lords who have agreed to contribute to it; I am especially grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Sater, for choosing to make her maiden speech in it. I know that her extensive experience in business and the charitable sector, as well as her time working on the Youth Justice Board and as a magistrate, will inform many excellent contributions to this House. I look forward to her speech. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on positive impact of women’s centres in the justice system”

Bishop of Gloucester Times article: Women’s centres give non‑violent offenders a chance for success

The following article by the Bishop of Gloucester appeared on The Times Red Box website on 12th September 2018:


Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester Times article: Women’s centres give non‑violent offenders a chance for success”