Aylesbury prison holds young adults, mainly teenagers, and it has been one of the worst prisons in the country for years. It was so awful that it was put into emergency special measures and half the young men were shipped out to other jails – many of which are only marginally better. Despite the extra help, a new inspection shows it is still desperately awful.
Magistrates were wrong to imprison a child of 14 and wrong to allow him to be named. The boy's case was heard in a youth court last week and it has been reported widely, but for reasons that I will go on to explain, I am not sharing a link to the coverage.
This is too shocking not to share. A friend, a police officer, told me he was in a car with three colleagues for the whole day, cruising round aimlessly ‘looking for burglars’. As if this wasn’t a total waste of taxpayers’ money and a total waste of police time, it gets worse.
While the government is banging the ‘law-and-order’ drum, it is worth remembering that when people go into prison they also come out. The longer they are inside, the more institutionalised they become and the bigger the challenges they face on release.
Prison remains the lynchpin of criminal justice policy in England and Wales. The Queen’s speech signalled the government’s intentions to curtail early release for people imprisoned for serious crimes thereby increasing the need for prison places. In this Policy Insight blog Thomas Guiney, Oxford Brookes University, explains why prison building has moved from the margins to the mainstream of penal policy in England and Wales.
The justice secretary is to announce plans to change the law so that men (almost all of them will be men) who are serving long sentences for serious sex and violent crimes will have to serve at least two thirds of their sentence, instead of half.