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”

Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill

The following letter, in support of Baroness Hamwee’s Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill signed by eight bishops, seven of whom are Lords Spiritual, appeared in The Times newspaper on 15th December 2017.

REFUGEE REFORM BILL

Sir, Britain is one of the few countries in Europe that does not allow refugee children who arrive alone in the UK to bring a parent here. This is the most glaring example of overly restrictive rules that deny many refugees the chance to live with their family. Today Baroness Hamwee will sponsor the Refugee Families Reunion Bill in the House of Lords, which would allow a wider range of family members to be reunited with refugees living in the UK. Continue reading “Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill”

Bishop of Southwark urges vigilance on Zimbabwe, stresses positive role played by churches

On 7th December 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Luce, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the situation in Zimbabwe; and what plans they have to work internationally to facilitate the recovery of that country.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I have come to your Lordships’ House today from Lambeth Palace, where I have been chairing the Zimbabwe round table. Also present at that meeting was the Bishop of Harare, the right reverend Dr Chad Gandiya, who is staying with me on his brief visit to this country. Yesterday Bishop Chad met with Rory Stewart, the Africa Minister. My conversations with Bishop Chad have further informed my own thinking on Zimbabwe—a country with which I have a long association, particularly through close links between my diocese and four of the five Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark urges vigilance on Zimbabwe, stresses positive role played by churches”

Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property

On 20th and 21st November the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions on Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property and the Church Lands Bill before the Knesset:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Israel.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent alleged breaches of the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of respecting the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(vi) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of protecting Church property in the Old City of Jerusalem, following the decision in July of the Jerusalem District Court in the Jaffa Gate case. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government to support peaceful transition of power in Zimbabwe

On Wednesday 15th November a Government statement about the situation in Zimbabwe was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Minister is only too aware both of the United Kingdom’s historic links with Zimbabwe and of the difficult relationship with ZANU-PF; that is reflected in the Statement, which has won support around the House. Speaking as chair of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Zimbabwe round table, I pass on the concern of Anglican bishops in Zimbabwe that any transition should not be allowed to lead to a reoccurrence of conflict in a country that has suffered much. I ask that the UK offers help sensitively and purposefully where it is possible to do so, supporting key stakeholders who are committed to a peaceful transition and who are prepared for it. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government to support peaceful transition of power in Zimbabwe”

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 Southwark asks Government about school admissions and clergy families

On the 7th September Lord Lexden asked the Government “whether they have plans to enable more children in care to obtain places in state and independent boarding schools”. The Bishop of Southwark asked a follow up question about clergy families:

southwark-20feb17

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, as the Minister is aware, those who live in tied accommodation as part of their employment or the holding of an office have an unintentional structural disadvantage when it comes to their children’s schooling. This is ameliorated in the case of military families but not in the case of others, such as clergy and their children. Will Her Majesty’s Government now act to address this disadvantage by amending the code?

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about school admissions and clergy families”