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Prisons and Courts Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:09 pm on 20th March 2017.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 5:09 pm, 20th March 2017

I agree with the point that my hon. Friend so eloquently makes. Injured people should not be made to pay the price for the behaviour of the unscrupulous minority—the companies that engage in the practices she describes.

The Secretary of State started her speech by explaining how the Bill introduces a statutory purpose for prisons to

“protect the public…reform and rehabilitate offenders…prepare prisoners for life outside prison;
and…maintain an environment that is safe and secure.”

Of course we agree with those aims, but most people believe that they are what prisons are meant to be doing already. It is crystal clear that those things are not happening today. The main problems in prisons cannot be disputed: violence, drugs, overcrowding and understaffing. To combat those threats effectively, we need a plan for order—a plan to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs, to manage the prison population, and to recruit and retain prison officers. Where is any of that in the Bill? Where are the practical measures to realise those goals? We will be returning to those issues in Committee.