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Prisons await a judgment

Tippa Naphtali | 05.10.2007 10:24 | Analysis | Repression | Birmingham | London

A report by the Forum for Preventing Deaths in Custody found that there were 600 deaths in prisons, police cells, secure hospitals and young offender institutions last year, 200 of which were self-inflicted. While the numbers of suicides in prisons fell marginally (from 78 in 2005 to 67 last year), more could still be done to protect prisoners.

Lord Carter's review of prisons is due to be published. Carter, a businessman become Labour peer (and odd-job man, a lengthening list of inquiries under his belt) has to come up with a recipe to free prison places, improve the management and efficiency of prisons and increase the value for money of the prison building programme. Just like that, as Tommy Cooper used to say.

The need for wizardry is not in doubt. With prisons bursting at the seams, officers warn darkly that cost-cutting will not be possible. The prison service has already committed to make 3% efficiency savings over the next three years. The government wants state-of-the-art penal establishments, but they do not necessarily have to be publicly owned; it would like to increase the number of privately run prisons, though Carter has to opine on their value for money.

See full report >,,2181301,00.html

Tippa Naphtali
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