I asked the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove MP, about his plans for the prison system.
During the Queen’s Speech the Government announced new ‘Reform Prisons’. These will see prisons being given independence from central government and that power being given to Governors of the prisons. The Government announced that they will begin with 6 prisons and then roll out the process across England and Wales.
The powers the Governors will gain will be over budgets and setting the daily regime for inmates.
I am concerned that the Government have announced the 6 ‘reform prisons’, but have yet to produce a White Paper, a document that will outline the powers and responsibilities of both Government and Governors. This is very much putting the cart before the horse.
The Justice Secretary stated that the Government will produce a White Paper in the autumn and legislation will then be brought forward following that. This could result in a government policy being rolled out without the proper scrutiny of Parliament and industry experts.