RJC responds to David Cameron's prison reform speech

node leader
8 February 2016

David Cameron has announced major reforms to the prison system. These include more autonomy for prison governors, more transparency around reoffending rates for individual prisons, and a pilot of six new ‘reform prisons’. These changes are designed to reduce reoffending while keeping victims as a key priority of the justice system.

Jon Collins, the Restorative Justice Council’s chief executive officer, said:

“This announcement will create further incentives for prisons to offer restorative justice, which enables victims to meet or communicate with their offenders. Restorative justice is an effective and evidence-based form of rehabilitation – robust research shows that it reduces reoffending by 14% while also helping victims to put the crime behind them and move on. It holds offenders to account for what they have done and helps them to take responsibility and make amends, which is a key part of effective rehabilitation.

“If prison governors want to reduce reoffending while promoting the interests of victims in the justice system, it is vital that they ensure restorative justice is available.

“Restorative approaches can also be used within prisons as a method of conflict resolution, both between prisoners and between prisoners and staff. It can therefore help to make prisons a safer and more positive environment.

“The initial pilot of six ‘reform prisons’ will provide an opportunity to show how well restorative justice can work in a prison context. These prisons should all ensure that restorative justice is used to support rehabilitation and help offenders to put their offending behaviour behind them and move on with their lives.”

The RJC will be sending out copies of a new information pack on restorative justice in custodial settings to every prison and YOI in the country to support governors in making restorative justice available within their establishment.