Our jails are at capacity and reoffending rates sky high. But a new graduate recruitment scheme that puts rehabilitation at its core offers real hope.
As the disturbances in Birmingham showed, our prison system is in urgent need of improvement. The justice secretary is surely right to emphasise the need both to restore stability and deliver reform. The recruitment of 2,500 extra prison officers will help make prisons the secure places expected by the public – and deliver the stability we need if reform is to become a reality.
With almost half of all prisoners currently returning to prison within a year of release, after committing more crimes and creating yet more victims, we need to do much more to break the destructive cycles of reoffending. Truss understands this. She is a radical reformer. The justice secretary, like her predecessor Michael Gove, understands that while prison reform may not be a shortcut to political popularity, simply locking people up and throwing away the key is not the answer. Our prisons are at capacity. Our prison governors and their staff are working with limited resources. Successive governments have hinted at reform. Truss is now determined to deliver action, not just words.