Reclaim Justice Network calls for moratorium on prison building

On 9 November 2015, the British Government announced a ‘prison building revolution’, committing to the construction of 9 new prisons across England and Wales. The Reclaim Justice Network has issued the following statement and is inviting people to offer support to this statement.

The Network is organising a public meeting to discuss the impact of the government’s plans.

Imprisonment and punishment in the UK has proven to be an appalling failure.

Over the last thirty years, the UK has become over-reliant on police and prisons as a primary means for dealing with social problems. The number of people criminalised and sent to prison has spiralled out of control. Re-conviction rates remain high, victims’ needs are not met and social inequalities have continued to grow. The current use of imprisonment is unsustainable, unethical and ineffective in responding to social problems and harms. 

We are calling for an immediate moratorium on prison construction. We support plans for the closure and demolition of existing prisons and demand that the land be signed over to local authority control on the agreement that it is used for much needed social housing.
This is an opportunity for a fundamental rethink in how our society responds to harm. A key part of such an approach should be to strengthen welfare and local services – and scale back the number of people criminalised and imprisoned. We need to build safe and healthy communities – not prisons.
Zack Ahmed, Sacha Darke, Chris Hignett, Tom Kemp, Sarah Lamble, Gloria Morrison, Alexandra Phillips, Hannah Pittaway, Rebecca Roberts, Neena Samota of The Reclaim Justice Network

You can offer your support for this statement by completing this online form and adding your name to a public list of signatories.



7 thoughts on “Reclaim Justice Network calls for moratorium on prison building”

  1. Yes, absolutely the right idea; but to make it credible we need much more detail about what to do instead, and how to make sure that the money saved is transferred to effective alternatives. How can we sort out the mess left by the dismantling of the probation service? Would day training centres be a feasible method? Above all, how can we re-think sentencing so that it isn’t constantly ratcheted up? Will we have to re-think the whole idea of punishment – and take public opinion with us?

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