Amendment 12

Part of Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 3rd March 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green 3:00 pm, 3rd March 2021

My Lords, I will speak to the whole group but I have co-signed Amendments 24 and 25 in the names of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, and the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, respectively. I signed those agreements because they seemed so sensible. It is all very well making up rules and imposing limitations on people’s liberty but, if you do not have the facts and you do not actually know what the statistics are, it all seems a bit academic. Post-legislative scrutiny is incredibly important, especially for Bills such as this which implement contentious and possibly damaging and complex arrangements. They can either work very well or be disastrous.

The Government are taking a very worrying approach to counterterrorism with this sort of “tough on crime” mentality where we just lock people up and throw away the key. We need an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to deradicalisation. We need to rescue people from these deeply destructive ideologies, recognising that they are pretty much groomed and brainwashed until their thinking becomes so warped that violence seems like a legitimate tool.

I agreed with every word that the noble Lord, Lord Marks, said earlier about prisons. I have visited prisons and have spoken to a lot of people who have been in them and, quite honestly, there is a huge risk that issues and behaviours like this can spread in prison and in fact the prisons become a recruiting ground. That is pretty much how ISIS started, in the prison camps in Iraq, so we have a precedent for some quite damaging events coming out of locking people up. We have to be very careful that the Government’s attempts to imprison people indefinitely do not just make the problem much worse. Could we please have independent reviews and get the evidence base, and compare the Government’s approach with the other options, which could be much better?