Bishop Richard Moth, the lead Catholic Bishop for Prisons, has welcomed the comments of Prisons Minister Rory Stewart MP, who said that jail sentences of fewer than six months should be scrapped. The number of prisoners has doubled since the 1990s and around 60% of short term prisoners re-offend within one year of their release.
The Minister said that “very short” jail terms were “long enough to damage you and not long enough to heal you”. Mr Stewart said that such a move would create more space for education and workshops for prisoners.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales has recently published A Journey of Hope – A report intended to explore how sentencing policy in England and Wales can be reformed in order to create a safe, decent and rehabilitative prison estate.
Bishop Richard Moth said: “I am delighted that the Government appears to be changing direction on this important issue. To maintain a prison population of 83,450 in an estate that was built for far fewer is unsustainable, unsafe, and ineffective. The Minister should be congratulated for listening and acting. While this move might not be politically popular, it is certainly the right thing to do.”
Christians on Ageing is seeking ways of assisting the Churches and prison chaplaincies in their work for older prisoners