Because of the increase in cases of violence in prison, penal experts urge the UK Government to create a strategy for reducing prison population instead of adding more penal facilities. This recommendation is in line with the recent data released by the Ministry of Justice.
Based on records gathered in the past twelve months, the MoJ noted 31,025 cases of assault that happened inside correctional facilities. These numbers include over 9,000 incidents towards prison staff.
Howard Neilson from the Howard League for Penal Reform shared that the alarming figures presented by the MoJ show its correlation to overcrowding in the jail. Because of this matter, he suggested reducing the population in prison to prevent violence to prevail in these facilities.
It is not the first time that reform organizations recommend such a strategy. Andrea Albutt, the president of the Prison Governors Association also shared the same sentiments as Neilson. She said that letting rehabilitated and mentally-challenged inmates stay in prison leads to overcrowding.
In another instance, David Scott, a senior Criminology lecturer, recalled that law enforcers put women behind bars because of petty crimes. He also noted that there are better remedies for these kinds of cases such as probation, home monitoring, and amnesty.
The government should also make a move to repeal penal laws regarding criminal responsibility and jurisdiction. In connection to this, Scott said that diversion schemes towards juveniles should keep them out of the criminal process. He added that communities should handle petty offenders instead of letting the issue reach the courts.
Overall, the main point in their statements aims towards the welfare of prisoners and prison staff. It also urges the government to focus their plans on regulating the population of inmates by creating better laws that manage how officials transfer prisoners from the courts to the jail.
Aside from incidents of violence, the MoJ also focused on self-harm statistics. Throughout the past months, the agency found that 77 people committed suicide while incarcerated. These events suggest that the staff, with the Government’s help, should act boldly to prevent similar incidents from transpiring.