Policy paper

Prison safety and reform

A summary of proposals setting out what the Ministry of Justice is doing to make prisons places of safety and reform.


Prison Safety and Reform

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Prison Safety and Reform (print version)

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Prison Safety and Reform (Welsh version)

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Our prison system needs reform. It fails to rehabilitate or make sure criminals are prevented from offending again. Currently, nearly half of adult prisoners are reconvicted within one year of release – and almost 60% of those serving sentences under 12 months. Our aim is to place rehabilitation of prisoners squarely alongside safety, security and cost effectiveness as one of the key purposes of prison.

This white paper sets out the steps we will take to make prisons a place of safety and reform. We will:

  • take immediate action to address threats to prison security and change the culture of our prisons – investing additional funding and changing ways of working so offenders are matched with named, dedicated officers with the appropriate training and ability to offer the support needed;
  • overhaul the entire prison system and set in place a clearly defined legal framework for prisons to operate in – putting in place a new trigger for emergency intervention by the Justice Secretary into failing prisons and giving greater bite to the inspection regime;
  • set clear standards for what we expect from our prisons and give all governors the authority to decide how they deliver these services;
  • create a modern, fit for purpose estate which offers hope, empowerment and opportunities to offenders - building and opening six new adult male prisons, five new community prisons for women and starting the process for a further wave of new prisons in 2017.

This will be the most far-reaching reform of our prisons in a generation and a key part of the government’s social reform programme – creating a society that works for everyone.

Published 3 November 2016
Last updated 17 November 2016 + show all updates
  1. Welsh version published.

  2. First published.