Rehabilitation of prisoners is one of the most important roles of our criminal justice system. But this important job was completely wrecked when the UK Government part-privatised rehabilitation companies. We are now footing a bill worth millions to unpick the damage done by the former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, and the Government is scrabbling for ways to improve rehabilitation.
I pressed the Secretary of State on how the Government would turn around this disgraceful service and ensure that the privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies are either brought back into government control or fixed for a better deal for the taxpayers.
The dramatic rise in violent attacks on prison officers (a 23% rise in the last 12 months alone) is undermining the safety of our prisons and we need to see the roll-out of body worn cameras increased to keep our officers safe.
These attacks coincide with the significant rise in the use of drugs such as Spice in prisons – also known as New Psychoactive Substances. The Government needs to get a grip of the situation if not more violent attacks will take place.
As many of you know a cross-party effort has been underway to ensure that emergency service animals are given protections in law against attacks. Currently, if they are harmed they are treated with the same rights as a broken window in law.
Following the question from another member in the Commons I wanted to seek assurances that the Government would support this Bill. I was disappointed to hear that the Government minister could not give that assurance.
Finn’s Law – which I am a co-sponsor of – hopes to bring about a new criminal charge for those who attack or kill service animals. Currently, service animals – such as police dogs – are treated as property and therefore when a case is brought forward it is considered on the financial value of the animal and not any other measure. These animals often will undertake tasks that humans cannot or will not.
Recently, Finn’s Law was introduced to the House but the minister instructed for it to be blocked. I wanted a decent explanation as to why this sensible measures, which has cross-party support, was blocked.