What is prison for? (Isle of Man)
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What is prison for? (Isle of Man)

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Presentation to the Positive Action Group, Isle of Man, September 2009 'What is prison for?'

Presentation to the Positive Action Group, Isle of Man, September 2009 'What is prison for?'

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What is prison for? (Isle of Man) What is prison for? (Isle of Man) Presentation Transcript

  • WHAT IS PRISON FOR? • Andrew Neilson, Assistant Director, Public Affairs and Policy, presentation on the Isle of Man September 2009
  • What is prison for? • Punishment • Public protection • Deterrence • Rehabilitation
  • What do people have to say about prison? • ‘The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons’ - Fyodor Dostoevsky • ‘The first real principle which should guide anyone trying to establish a good system of prisons would be to prevent as many people as possible getting there at all’ - Winston Churchill
  • How is prison used? • The past decade and a half has seen an unprecedented expansion in the English & Welsh prison population • In 1994, the average prison population was 48,631 • On Friday 18 September 2009 the English & Welsh prison population reached an all time high of 84,422
  • Many thousands of new prison places have been built…
  • What has caused this growth in prison numbers? • A 78% increase in the use of immediate custodial sentences • A 19% increase in those sent to prison for breaches of parole licence and community supervision
  • People are also spending longer in prison • The average time served in prison has increased by 14% since 2000 • The proportion of the sentenced prison population serving indeterminate or life sentences increasing from 9% in 1995 to 19% in 2009 • England & Wales has more prisoners serving these open-ended sentences than the rest of western Europe combined
  • Legislation has had its part to play…
  • Do crime rates have any bearing on prison numbers?
  • Not necessarily...
  • Does prison reduce reoffending?
  • Who do our prisons hold? • Around 55% of prisoners are considered ‘problematic drug users’ • One in five prisoners report opiate use in prison, many for the first time • 27% of prisoners are BME - compared to one in eleven of the general population • 48% of prisoners are at, or below, the level expected of an 11 year old in reading, 65% in numeracy and 82% in writing
  • Mental health is a major concern • Over one third of men serving prison sentences have a significant mental health problem • One in four attempt suicide in prison • Self injury rates in prison increased by 37% between 2003 and 2007 - four times the increase in the prison population • Women committed 54% of this self injury, despite the fact that only 5% of the prison population is female
  • Women in prison • Women in prison are twenty times more likely to suffer from delusional or schizophrenic disorders than women in the general population • Over half of women in prison have suffered domestic abuse and one in three have been victims of sexual abuse • Nearly a third of women in prison have no previous convictions, more than double the proportion of men
  • Children in prison • Two out of five girls and one out of four boys in prison report violence at home • One in three girls and one in 20 boys in custody have histories of sexual abuse • 40% of children in prison have been homeless
  • Prison fails children • Over a third of children report feeling unsafe in custody • 75% of children leaving custody will go on to reoffend, the highest for any age group
  • What are prison population rates? • International prison population rates are measured per 100,000 of the general population • The median prison population rate for Western Europe in 2008 was 95 prisoners per 100,000 of the general population
  • England & Wales is an outlier in Western Europe
  • How does the Isle of Man compare? • The English & Welsh prison rate in 2008 was 153 prisoners per 100,000, Scotland (152), N. Ireland (88) • The Isle of Man’s prison rate in 2008 was 127 prisoners per 100,000 of the general population
  • Some other countries... • France (96) • Germany (89) • Republic of Ireland (76) • Norway (69) • Finland (64) • Iceland (44)
  • Population of the prison on Friday 25 September • 111 individuals in custody on Friday • Seven women • 14 young men aged 21 and under • Eight prisoners over 50, the oldest of which is aged 75
  • The Isle of Man has a high number of prisoners held on remand • In 2008, prisoners on remand or pre-trial detention constituted 27.8% of the population • In England & Wales the proportion of remand prisoners was 16.1% • Last week just over 40% of the prison population in the new prison were held on remand
  • Why so many on remand? • England & Wales has the Bail Act 1976, which gives a presumption in favour of bail • The Isle of Man has no such legislation • England & Wales has Custody Time Limits to ensure cases are heard expeditiously and individuals are not remanded to custody for excessive periods • The Isle of Man has no Custody Time Limits
  • Drugs • Lengthy sentences are in place for drug importation and supply • Around 50% of the Isle of Man’s prison population are inside for drug-related offences
  • Life sentenced prisoners • The Isle of Man is a compact jurisdiction and life sentenced prisoners will go to England & Wales • Currently six lifers from the Isle of Man in England & Wales
  • Voting • Prisoners on the Isle of Man have the vote • England & Wales has an absolute statutory bar on prisoners having the vote • In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this was unlawful
  • The Isle of Man has mirrored increases in England & Wales • When the Chief Inspector of Prisons last visited in 2006, there were 66 prisoners (rate of 86.5 per 100,000) • In 2008, the average prison population was 97 (rate of 127 per 100,000) • The average daily total in 2009 has been 105 (rate of 137.5 per 100,000)
  • As with England & Wales, more prison places have been built • The Victoria Road prison could hold a maximum of 92 prisoners, with cell-sharing • The new facility can hold 138 in single cells • Since opening the new prison, the prison population has now gone over the 100 mark • It reached an all-time high of 124 on 7th June 2009
  • Crime comparisons • In 2007-08 the crime rate in England & Wales was 92 incidents per 1,000 of the population • On the Isle of Man in the same period the crime rate was 48 per 1,000
  • Violent crime comparisons • Violent crime in England & Wales in 2007-08: 20 incidents per 1,000 • The Isle of Man saw 13 incidents of violent crime per 1,000 in 2007-08
  • A note on costs... • In 2008-9, the Isle of Man prison service had a budget of £10.2m • The Isle of Man probation service had a budget of £1.7m
  • Pennies and pounds • The Isle of Man spends 16p on probation for every £1 spent on prison • In 2008-9 England & Wales spent £2.9bn on prisons and £876m on probation - or 30p spent on probation for every £1 spent on prison
  • A further note on costs... • The Isle of Man’s government spends around £570m a year • The new prison cost £41.7m – over 7% of annual expenditure • The Isle of Man’s prison service is budgeted to spend around £10m each year for the next three years - another 1.75% of annual expenditure
  • By contrast... • England & Wales spends about 0.4% of its annual expenditure on prisons. • In 2008-9, £2.49bn out of a total £586bn was spent on prisons
  • The big question? • The Isle of Man experiences just over half the crime and half the violent crime than that on the mainland • So why is the Isle of Man spending proportionately more than four times as much than England & Wales on prison?
  • More big questions? • The average prison population on the Isle of Man has increased by 43.8% since 2006 • Why has this happened when last year the Chief Constable reported that recorded crime had fallen by 35% since 2006? • Crime fell by 10.5% in 2008 on the previous year. So why has the prison population hit further record levels since the new prison opened in 2009?
  • A word of warning...
  • No jurisdiction has ever built its way out of overcrowding
  • A vision for change Less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison
  • There is growing concern at ever- increasing prison populations • In 2007 the Scottish government set up an independent Prisons Commission to look at the purpose and impact of imprisonment in Scotland • The Commission’s final report, Scotland’s Choice, was published in 2008 and made 23 recommendations • Scotland now taking steps to reduce its prison population, including a presumption against sentences of six months or less
  • Meanwhile, in England...
  • Canada: a success story?
  • Spending cuts... • In 1993 the new Liberal government faced the need to reduce a $42bn deficit • As part of a strategy to reduce public spending by 20%, the government sought to reduce its spending on prison
  • ...meant prison cuts • Between 1995 and 2004, the Canadian prison population was reduced by 11% - lowering their rate of imprisonment from 131 per 100,000 to 108 per 100,000
  • How did the Canadians do it? • Inserted a ‘restraint principle’ into their criminal code • Introduced conditional sentences served in the community • Developed restorative justice programmes • Speeded up the parole process
  • What happened to the crime rate in Canada? • Crimes rates in Canada are at their lowest for 25 years • Between 1991 and 1999 there were drops ranging from 23% in assault and robbery to 43% for homicide • The magic formula: less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison
  • Potential reform for the Isle of Man • Introduce the principle that custody should be used only as a last resort, when there are no reasonable alternatives available • Introduce a presumption in favour of bail and Custody Time Limits for remand prisoners • Replace short prison sentences of six months or less with community-based responses and fund the probation service appropriately
  • Finally...the ‘community-facing’ prison • Of the 111 prisoners in the Isle of Man prison on Friday, 15 are not due for release until 2012 and one not until 2018 (barring parole) • But these prisoners, like all the others, will be released and all will return to the community • Resettlement is everyone’s responsibility
  • Thank you www.howardleague.org