The Prison Reform Trust – Talking Justice : Talking Sense

‘Prisons have become warehouses of our social problems’

Colin Moses – Chairman of POA Prison Officers Association 2002-2011


The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is, in their own words, ‘an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system‘.

They have recently released a six minute film called ‘Talking Justice : Talking Sense’ presenting the case for prison as a last resort, as prisons reach close to capacity.

There are some poignant messages and certainly some food for thought as the loopholes and pitfalls of the current system are highlighted, and they make for some grave results.

The conclusion is finding alternatives. Restorative Justice comes up as one positive suggestion as Peter Woolf, a man who spent 18.5 years in prison and committed thousands of crimes finally found the will to change after facing his last victim Will Riley, in a meeting that changed both of their lives. For the better.

Take six minutes to watch the film HERE.

There is also a chance to hear each contributor speak for two minutes each HERE.

There must be…There are alternatives and these are being demonstrated in other countries but we seem so fascinated, obsessed with locking people up in this country from a very early age and for quite minor offences that we lose sight of the fact that prison should be for serious offenders and only that justifies the expense.’

Paul Tidball

President, Prison Governors Association 2006 – 2010

‘It shouldn’t become a big private industry that trades on people’s misery. It shouldn’t be an alternative welfare state where the vulnerable, the mentally ill and the illiterate founder away for years on end with no hope of rehabilitation.’

Shami Chakrabarti

Director, Liberty


Article: ‘Prison leaves 17,000 children separated from their mothers’.

I came across this GUARDIAN ARTICLE whilst doing some research. It was published a couple of months ago, and details the statistics from research undertaken by the Howard League – a penal reform trust.

The report, called ‘The Voice of a Child’, showed that over 17,000 children were separated from their mothers in England and Wales in 2010.

                                                 IMAGE: THE GUARDIAN

The consequences cause ‘long term emotional, social and psychological damage’ for the children because of restrictions on visiting hours which are mainly only allowed during daytimes when children should be at school.

The Howard League also found that many of the mothers were imprisoned for non-violent offences, which could have been punished in the community, meaning that 11,000 of these cases would not have lead to the separation of mother and child.

The matter is also affected by the number of women who are in prison awaiting trial, only to be found not guilty.

The Howard League suggests that mothers should be placed in secure units that can provide better visiting hours, and also to end the imprisonment of those who are convicted of non-violent offences.