Prison reform trust representation to the autumn budget 2017

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Prison Reform Trust
Prison Reform Trust
Date of publication
25 September 2017
Offenders, Criminal Justice Services, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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New projections for the prison population show that the current strategy to manage the crisis in our prisons by adding to capacity on a new for old basis is undeliverable, both operationally and financially. By contrast, a significant reduction in the use of imprisonment could unlock resource savings of nearly £1bn annually. In the long term, a smaller, modernised estate would offer significant and enduring savings and the prospect of significantly better performance.

It is well known that the use of imprisonment in England and Wales has grown dramatically over the last two decades. A succession of expert reviews has charted the reasons for that growth. What is clear is that the growth in the population has not been caused by an increase in crime, which has fallen on all measures during the same period. Nor has an increase in imprisonment been pursued as an object of policy.

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