V612 - Penal Reform Bill 2013 Watch

Poll: Should this bill be passed into law?
As many are of the opinion, Aye (29)
63.04%
Of the contrary, No (5)
10.87%
Abstain (12)
26.09%
This discussion is closed.
Jarred
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V612 - Penal Reform Bill 2013, TSR Socialist Party




Penal Reform Act 2013


An Act to, firstly, make provision for the enhancement of rehabilitative services within the penal system, and, secondly, to reform the management of prison services so as to ensure direct accountability to the Government.



BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—


Part I

The Prison Service

1 Psychological services within prisons
  1. Group facilitators within prisons should deal with no more than ten inmates each; if necessary for this to be made the case, funds shall be provided for the hiring of additional psychological staff.


2 Management of prisons
  1. All contracts between the state and private companies for the running of any prison services are to be terminated at the earliest available juncture.
  2. The Department of Justice is to expand the programme of training necessary for achieving the level of qualification needed for working as a prison officer; the programme must take 24 weeks to finish.


3 Prison estates
  1. By the year 2018, no prison should accomodate more than 1000 inmates;
    1. furthermore, the Department of Justice must ensure that the conditions of all facilities within the prisons system are adequate and up to the standard of the law, making funds available to render this the case in those instances in which it is not.


Part II

Non-custodial Sentences

4 Probationary sentences and community service orders
  1. The Department of Justice is authorised to expand the services needed for providing probationary sentences and community service orders with the aim to increase the amount of offenders who receive such sentences, as a proportion of the total offender population.



Part III

Miscellaneous

5 Short title
  1. This Act may be referred to as the Penal Reform Act 2013.


6 Commencement
  1. This Act will come into effect on the 1st of January 2014.

Notes
Why increase the number of forensic psychologists per prisoner?
Currently, mental support services for prisoners are being stretched; it is not uncommon for a group facilitator (a forensic psychologist responsible for running talk therapy sessions with prisoners) to be faced with 25+ inmates in their charge. This is too high a number for them to effectively treat all of the people in their care, leading to poor services and missed opportunities when it comes to prisoner rehabilitation. Prisons in countries such as Norway, which have reoffending rates more than half those found within the UK, achieve the results they do by focusing on providing an extensive support network - Bastoy Prison, for instance, has 69 staff looking after 115 inmates. Last but far from least, suicide attempts among prisoners are very common - this problem will only be dealt with through a strengthening of support services for the incarcerated population. (Relevant report.)

Why change the management of prisons?
Privately-run services, short of government oversight, have proven to be crisis-ridden and ineffective. A random inspection of one privately-run prison found that i. levels of assaults were high and prisoners seemed to lack confidence in an inexperienced staff group to deal with violence or delinquency; ii. use of force was reducing but remained high, as did use of segregation; iii. the prison’s regime was one of the most restricted inspectors had ever seen, and time out of cell was very limited; iv. inspectors found 60% of prisoners locked up during the working day and some spent 23 hours a day in their cells; v. there were far too few activity places for the needs of the population and much of the provision required improvement; vi. although resettlement services were developing, provision across most of the resettlement pathways was very limited; and vii. offender management was still developing, and although there was an enthusiasm to improve, the service had limited one-to-one engagement with prisoners and paid insufficient attention to risk reduction.

Why place a limit on the size of prisons?
Research strongly suggests that "titan prisons" are damaging and very criminogenic. They are a short-termist approach: offering to provide prison services for 1/4th of the average annual cost, even at the expense of massively high re-offending rates and poor, bordering on inhumane, service.
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MrDystopia
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Having given this some thought, I don't see any reason why I should vote against this. It makes sense to provide more health care professionals for those who require them, and returning the prisons to state control is a good idea.

Aye.
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Kittiara
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This bill makes a lot of sense. An Aye from me!
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Life_peer
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Can we still use Australia as a monstrous-titan-gargantuan-gigantic-jumbo-whopping-monumental-mega-prison with this?
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LETSJaM
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(Original post by Life_peer)
Can we still use Australia as a monstrous-titan-gargantuan-gigantic-jumbo-whopping-monumental-mega-prison with this?
I don't think they'd be very happy with that. Although they are now thinking of shipping their convicts to some island near by.

<3 x
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PhysicsKid
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I'll vote Aye, but where you talk about maximum prison limits, what do you mean? Is it build more prisons or change the terms upon which people are jailed e.g crimes like minor theft will result in something other than imprisonment to save resources- and also because it's fairer?
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by bun)
...
(Original post by meenu89)
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(Original post by Rakas21)
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Could those of you who voted No outright on such a measured bill be so kind as to explain your objections to this Bill? Abstain perhaps, but I just don't understand how you could disagree to such an extent on an issue like this!
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bun
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
Could those of you who voted No outright on such a measured bill be so kind as to explain your objections to this Bill? Abstain perhaps, but I just don't understand how you could disagree to such an extent on an issue like this!
I don't understand a lot of what many people say. Don't have to justify everything - seems a bit aggressive.
But on this case, it just seems a nice idea, but impractical - how much would all that cost?! Where would you build the new prisons necessary etc etc?
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Rakas21
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
Could those of you who voted No outright on such a measured bill be so kind as to explain your objections to this Bill? Abstain perhaps, but I just don't understand how you could disagree to such an extent on an issue like this!
All contracts between the state and private companies for the running of any prison services are to be terminated at the earliest available juncture.
The example used to justify this was very selectively chosen, on the whole privately run prisons have been no worse than state run prisons.

Once again ideology has tainted what it on the whole a rather good bill.
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by Rakas21)
The example used to justify this was very selectively chosen, on the whole privately run prisons have been no worse than state run prisons.

Once again ideology has tainted what it on the whole a rather good bill.
Do you not concede though that trying to profit from cramming loads and loads of minor criminals such as petty thiefs and so called public order offenders- extended now to include protesters and the like- has not helped to create a prison places crisis?
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by bun)
I don't understand a lot of what many people say. Don't have to justify everything - seems a bit aggressive.
But on this case, it just seems a nice idea, but impractical - how much would all that cost?! Where would you build the new prisons necessary etc etc?
Don't worry, I won't bite your head off- if you can give me a reason :P

All I want to know is what aspect of the Bill you find so objectionable- I really can't think of anything.

That's part of the problem though, the prison space crisis stems from increasing inequality under the Gini co-efficient, increasing gaps between rich and poor, more work for less pay in real terms, unjustified stress from work and from school, failure to tackle/indifference to tackle socio-economic issues such as the poverty trap- and the fact that minor criminals are put in prison who probably don't need to be there.

We don't need more prisons- we need to use our resources more effectively, tackle poverty and inequality and have a proper think about how so-called rehabilitation aside from offenders who pose serious risk will function properly.

Having a prison system where the owners need to make a profit to support themselves means the sight of these goals are lost- and so the system is inefficient and ineffective.

What are your thoughts?
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Rakas21
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
Do you not concede though that trying to profit from cramming loads and loads of minor criminals such as petty thiefs and so called public order offenders- extended now to include protesters and the like- has not helped to create a prison places crisis?
No, private companies don't rule the courts. They simply deal with whoever gets sent to the prison.

Our prison places crisis has been caused by the same thing that has caused our housing deficit, population growth and a lack of a government infrastructure strategy.
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by Rakas21)
No, private companies don't rule the courts. They simply deal with whoever gets sent to the prison.

Our prison places crisis has been caused by the same thing that has caused our housing deficit, population growth and a lack of a government infrastructure strategy.
That is true, but in order to keep prison contracts profitable, is it not logical to try and draw in as many people under the definition of 'criminal'? This is what the courts currently do.

On that second point I can agree to some extent, but what are you referring to when you say "the same thing that has caused our housing deficit"?
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bun
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
Don't worry, I won't bite your head off- if you can give me a reason :P

All I want to know is what aspect of the Bill you find so objectionable- I really can't think of anything.

That's part of the problem though, the prison space crisis stems from increasing inequality under the Gini co-efficient, increasing gaps between rich and poor, more work for less pay in real terms, unjustified stress from work and from school, failure to tackle/indifference to tackle socio-economic issues such as the poverty trap- and the fact that minor criminals are put in prison who probably don't need to be there.

We don't need more prisons- we need to use our resources more effectively, tackle poverty and inequality and have a proper think about how so-called rehabilitation aside from offenders who pose serious risk will function properly.

Having a prison system where the owners need to make a profit to support themselves means the sight of these goals are lost- and so the system is inefficient and ineffective.

What are your thoughts?
None of which is changed by this bill. Do all that stuff first, so you don't need more prisons, and I might vote aye. as it stands, either you're releasing hundreds of criminals back into society, or you need to build more prisons.
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Endless Blue
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I'm not sure about the prisoner cap. Surely prisons vary considerably in size, and therefore some prisons can easily handle over 1000 inmates without overcrowding etc?
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by bun)
None of which is changed by this bill. Do all that stuff first, so you don't need more prisons, and I might vote aye. as it stands, either you're releasing hundreds of criminals back into society, or you need to build more prisons.
Release the minor criminals such as low-risk thiefs etc, put them on electronic tag if you so wish. Prisons, due to having profits in the back of their mind, don't re-habilitate, instead putting all criminals together in the same boat and on average radicalising the inmates; giving them new tips etc. So, it doesn't make a difference to the safety of the general public in releasing these criminals to imprisoning them only to release them as a perhaps more experienced/knowledgeable criminal.

A ring-fenced government budget for prisons with different types of prison for different offenders, would ensure better and more appropriate investment.

No, social issues aren't the fault of these private contractors; however, by not tackling the serious issues in society, it makes crime more likely, which means we need to sustain the same number of prisons/increase them; keeping these companies in lucrative contracts. Therefore, the contractors do have blame for those issues I mentioned, albeit indirectly.
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bun
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
Release the minor criminals such as low-risk thiefs etc, put them on electronic tag if you so wish. Prisons, due to having profits in the back of their mind, don't re-habilitate, instead putting all criminals together in the same boat and on average radicalising the inmates; giving them new tips etc. So, it doesn't make a difference to the safety of the general public in releasing these criminals to imprisoning them only to release them as a perhaps more experienced/knowledgeable criminal.

A ring-fenced government budget for prisons with different types of prison for different offenders, would ensure better and more appropriate investment.

No, social issues aren't the fault of these private contractors; however, by not tackling the serious issues in society, it makes crime more likely, which means we need to sustain the same number of prisons/increase them; keeping these companies in lucrative contracts. Therefore, the contractors do have blame for those issues I mentioned, albeit indirectly.
I actually agree with a fair amount of what you're saying. HOWEVER, this bill doesn't deal with any other issues, and just seems impractical. Therefore it's a no from me. End of.
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by bun)
I actually agree with a fair amount of what you're saying. HOWEVER, this bill doesn't deal with any other issues, and just seems impractical. Therefore it's a no from me. End of.
Fair enough, I mean I have even expressed my reservations about the impact of limits on prison and what is to be done to help boost re-habilitation efforts especially around minor criminals. I suppose if I don't get sufficient assurances I'll probably change to an Abstain, but a No is quite harsh I think.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by PhysicsKid)
That is true, but in order to keep prison contracts profitable, is it not logical to try and draw in as many people under the definition of 'criminal'? This is what the courts currently do.

On that second point I can agree to some extent, but what are you referring to when you say "the same thing that has caused our housing deficit"?
The idiocy of government in not developing a strategic infrastructure strategy to deal with the issues caused by a population increase which if the crime rate stays static would mean more prisoners.

Again, that's government. The government decides what is and is not defined as a crime, the courts simply act in accordance with the law. Even if government is doing this then the answer is simply to give power to the relevant select committee rather than the executive in addition to independent monitoring.
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PhysicsKid
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(Original post by Rakas21)
The idiocy of government in not developing a strategic infrastructure strategy to deal with the issues caused by a population increase which if the crime rate stays static would mean more prisoners.

Again, that's government. The government decides what is and is not defined as a crime, the courts simply act in accordance with the law. Even if government is doing this then the answer is simply to give power to the relevant select committee rather than the executive in addition to independent monitoring.
I was under the impression this bill took the prison services out of private hands. Public hands doesn't always mean government- an independent regulator with teeth for example would still be public hands, surely?
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