Her Majesty’s Prison Service has not enjoyed the easiest of times of late. With prison staff struggling with overcrowding, rising violence and drug use, inspectors’ reports have proved grim reading for several years.
Campaigners have called for wholesale prison reform. The government has decided to change the way it manages each crisis.
Justice Secretary David Lidington has now announced he will take more a stronger hand in tackling critical situations, telling the chief inspector of prisons to bring the most serious problems to his immediate attention.
Under the new “urgent notification protocol,” the Justice Secretary will be obliged to come up with an action plan within 28 days once a major issue is raised. Specialists will then make sure action is taken.
“A team of specialists will now respond when HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) trigger urgent notification to urgently drive improvements and ensure that prisons are safe, secure and providing a regular regime,” Lidington explained.
We will expect swift and effective action to be taken in response
Peter Clarke, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: “Whenever the new process is invoked, we will expect swift and effective action to be taken in response.”