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On Tuesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Elizabeth Truss MP, about the growing pressures within our prisons.

The Government has continually cut the number of Prison Officers, whilst the number of people inside prisons continues to increase. This has resulted in the situation where we have experienced staff leaving prisons and experienced prisoners now in control of prisons.

We can see the effect this is having on prison safety. The number of attacks on Prison Officers has increased significantly. The number of self-inflicted harm within the prison population has also skyrocketed. This is deeply concerning as if we cannot make our prisons safe places reoffending rates will increase.

The Secretary of State dodged my question. She merely stated that she agreed with me that we must be doing all we can to retain Prison Officers. She also noted that the Government may be making an announcement in the near future regarding recruitment in prisons.

I will continue to monitor this as part of my role on the House of Commons Justice Select Committee.

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During Justice Questions, yesterday, I asked the new Prisons Minister what the Government is doing to ensure that Prison Governors are judged on their ability to rehabilitate prisoners on short-term sentences and placing them into employment.

I believe it is vitally important that we can rehabilitate our short-term prison population. These are usually people who are serving sentences under 9 months in length. Ensuring that they have the skills needed to gain employment makes sure that their chances or re-offending are dramatically reduced as they have a stable and legitimate income. Moreover, it helps ex-offenders reintegrate with society. Having a job means that you become part of a community. Therefore you have a vested interest that that community thrives, something that crime or criminal activity runs counter to. Read more “Justice Questions: Prison Rehabilitation”