The NHS and care crisis gets more attention but a long term funding and reform plan is also badly needed in our justice system (see today’s FT).
I fear that years of austerity have been reinforced by the government’s deliberate vandalising of the probation service (many of those on probation are not seen but interviewed by telephone).
There is now a rising prison population and together these are creating the conditions for a serious explosion of disorder. Today I read that experienced prison officers are leaving in record numbers. 77 per cent of staff at the dysfunctional Bedford prison have less than a year’s service. At Bedford 40 per cent of prisoners are locked up during the working day.
In Rory Stewart we seem to have that rare phenomenon – a minister who is listening to the concerns of front line staff. He needs supporting by more resources, an investment in educational and recreational activities, and sentencing solutions that reduce overcrowding.