Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yet more Tax Payer's Money to be spent on Prisons.

It is with dismay that I noted yesterday's Home Office announcement regarding the planned 8,000 increase in prison places over the next 5 years, all at an estimated cost of £100,000 per place. I fully recognise that serious overcrowding currently exists and some individuals are so dangerous that they must be secured. That said, to seemingly ignore the evidence that prison for the majority who offend has failed to reduce recidivism, seems to fly in the face of recognising and understanding the issues and causes of crime.

Why is the Government so determined to spend more money on a concept that is clearly providing limited return on Tax payer's money? Equally, why is there such an apparent resistance to more rapidly invest in strategies and programmes that we know can deliver more cost effective outcomes?

Against the backdrop of more of the same we also hear calls for increasing partnership work with the Third Sector. Unfortunately many voluntary organisations deliverying programmes that are clearly more effective than prison, struggle to survive owing to a lack of funding. I am left wondering if and when we will see a recognisable shift in strategic thinking and delivery that is so desperately needed?

Trevor Philpott