Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett has welcomed the news that prisoners across England and Wales will in future need to make real progress towards their own rehabilitation and work hard in prison before they can receive privileges, like access to television sets and being able to wear their own clothes.
Under the new policy, announced by the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP yesterday (30 April), the mere absence of bad behaviour will not be enough to earn perks, as is the case at the moment. Other changes include:
• All convicted adult male prisoners will have to wear prison uniform whilst on the new Entry-level in prisons.
• In-cell television sets will not be provided for prisoners on basic level and no prisoner should be allowed to watch television when he should be working or engaging in purposeful activity.
• Prison regimes will change so that convicted prisoners will work a longer day and bad behaviour will lead to a downgrade in status.
Mr Evennett said: ‘Like many local people I think our prisons should be places of hard work and serious rehabilitation. Any privileges that convicted criminals receive should be hard-earned, and be rewards for taking real steps towards rehabilitation and reform. They certainly should not come as a right. These tough and sensible reforms show that our prisons are becoming places of serious rehabilitation and reform. That way we can break the cycle of reoffending and make our streets and communities safer.’
Mr Grayling said ‘It is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours languishing in their cells and watching daytime television while the rest of the country goes out to work. For too long, there has been an expectation that privileges are an automatic right, given simply as a reward for staying out of trouble. This cannot continue. Prisoners need to earn privileges, not simply through the avoidance of bad behaviour but also by working, taking part in education or accepting the opportunities to rehabilitate themselves. We have reviewed the scheme fully, and I believe it is now something the public can have confidence in. Only by tackling bad behaviour and taking part in education or work programmes as well as addressing any alcohol or drug issues can we cut reoffending.’