Due to mismanagement by successive Tory and Labour governments our country is in the midst of a long-running and high-profile prison crisis.
We do not have enough prisons or cells, and many of those we do are outdated and unfit for purpose. We do not have nearly enough prison staff and our prison system has a huge discipline problem extending from contraband (such as phones and drugs) being commonplace within our jails to full-scale riots which have been taking over control of prisons. This utterly unacceptable situation has taken a huge toll on the wellbeing of both prison staff and inmates.
Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg has proposed a ‘solution’ – reducing prison numbers by releasing criminals. I cannot speak for your readers, but if I were given the choice of building more jails or having more convinced criminals on the streets, I would build more jails.
We must address the prison crisis by building new, modern prisons; vastly increasing the number of cells available across the UK, and significantly increasing the number of staff in our jails. Whilst we are doing this I would also recommend reviewing sentencing guidelines and introducing harsher deterrent punishments where appropriate. If sentencing is robust and prison conditions are tough, hopefully there will be fewer criminals and a safer society for everyone. A disciplined prison system will protect hard-working prison staff and increase inmate security.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East