James Timpson is a sign of hope for a rational prisons policy | Letters

James Timpson is a sign of hope for a rational prisons policy | Letters

Readers on the mammoth task facing the new prisons minister to reform the criminal justice system

As a former criminal justice practitioner, member of a probation board and now chair of a charity offering employment and training to prisoners in prisons and upon release, I have to echo the relief expressed by others at the appointment of James Timpson as prisons minister (Editorial, 9 July).

For too long, prison policy has run scared of the rightwing press, promoting a punitive ideology that has led to overcrowding and a lack of rehabilitation and education, and promoting the rhetoric that such things are rewards for criminality. What has been ignored is the evidence that shows this is an ineffective and expensive strategy. For most offenders, community sentences that provide mentoring and supervision are better at reducing recidivism rates.

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