HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales annual report 06/07

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The Stationery Office, Jan 30, 2008 - Law - 72 pages
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This annual report from Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, covers the 2006-07 period. During this time the prison population increased to 81,500 prisoners, with over 1,000 a week being held in police cells, awaiting a prison place. The report also charts the effects on prisons and prisoners of an increasingly pressurised system. There were 40% more self-inflicted deaths in custody last year, particularly during a prisoners early days within the prison system, and particularly amongst groups of vulnerable prisoners, such as foreign nationals, indeterminate-sentenced and unsentenced prisoners and women. The effects of prison overcrowding place great strain on training prisons and local prisons, with more suicides, poorer resettlement outcomes and insufficient exercise activity. Further, the greater use of indeterminate sentences stranded many prisoners within inappropriate prisons further driving up the prison population. The Chief Inspector does commend the prison system stating they are better places than 10 to 15 years ago, with some prisons showing improvements. There are improvements in healthcare, though there are concerns expressed about such provision in private sector prisons. There is also more support during the vulnerable early days of custody, though too many prisoners spend their first night in a police cell. The Inspector believes the prison system is at a crossroads and praises recent signs of a more effective and measured approach to policy and strategy, with new initiatives and good operational practice to build on. But, there is also a real risk that the prison system will move towards large-scale penal containment so losing the progress gained in improving the prison system.

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