Responding to today’s report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Nacro says the lack of focus on rehabilitation cited in the report is a major worry.
Sally Benton, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Nacro, commented:
“The report today is particularly concerning. Rehabilitation and resettlement for serving prisoners should be a central part of daily life in prison.
“According to the Ministry of Justice’s own figures, more than 400,000 crimes are committed by individuals who have committed an offence before. These people are responsible for the majority of crime in our communities and it has to be a priority to address their offending behaviour in order to reduce crime.”
Nacro has a track record of delivering successful, value for money services in communities and its experience shows that for many less serious offences community sentences are more effective at rehabilitating and less costly for the taxpayer.
Sally Benton continues:
“Where we can we must use tough community penalties instead of costly custodial terms which all too often perpetuate the problem. Communities are the best place to help offenders re-build relationships with their families, get off drugs or alcohol, tackle mental health problems, and get employment and stable accommodation.
“When it comes to reducing reoffending, being tough is not always the same as being intelligent. By using more community based penalties you can start to ease the pressure on the prison population and address the rehabilitation needs of those individuals remaining in custody. In this way, prisons can become places of work, skills and training instead of inactivity and boredom.
“You cannot change attitudes, get people ready for work, address their mental health, drugs or alcohol problems if they are locked in cell for twenty-three hours a day with nothing constructive to do.”