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Prison reform inquiry


The Justice Committee issues a report giving its views on Part 1 of the Prisons and Courts Bill, which contains those parts of the prison reform agenda which the Government considers need to be pursued through legislation.

The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 23 March 2017, and, following the House's agreement to the holding of an early general election, will not be proceeded with in this Parliament. The Public Bill Committee charged with considering the Bill did not proceed to consider all parts of the Bill, although it did finish debating Part 1 of the Bill before Easter.

The Justice Committee issued an initial call for evidence on 27 July 2016.

As details of the reforms were still emerging, we posed high-level questions in our inquiry's terms of reference. In doing so we wish to seek overall views which will be followed up in greater detail with a series of sub-inquiries on the White Paper.

Governor empowerment and prison performance

The Committee's first sub-inquiry focused on the policies on governor empowerment and prison performance announced in the Ministry of Justice's Prison Safety and Reform White Paper.

The Committee welcomed the principle of governor empowerment, but noted that greater clarity about the practical implications of these policies was required and risks would need to be mitigated.

Government Response

Estate modernisation

The Committee's second sub-inquiry focuses on Estate modernisation. The Government has announced it is closing some prisons and building new ones; the Committee seeks views on the Government's approach to estate modernisation within the context of its wider prison reform programme.