Speaking after the Prison Governors Association called for an independent public inquiry into the state of prisons in England and Wales, the Catholic Liaison Bishop for Prisons Bishop Richard Moth said:
“I am struck by the call by the Prison Governors Association, the people who actually manage our prison service, for an independent public inquiry into the state of prisons. For prison governors to unanimously make such a call underlines the current serious nature of the state of the prison service.
“In the last year there have been 105 self-inflicted deaths in our prisons, a terrible loss of human life and human potential. At the same time, non-fatal self-harm incidents and serious attacks on staff have both increased at an alarming pace. I know from our own prison chaplains the nature of the problems caused by staff shortages across the prison estate. But I also want to be clear that my aim in speaking out is not to attempt to apportion blame, but rather to urge us all to work together to improve the situation.
“Last week I welcomed the announcement by the new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, of an extra £14 million to recruit over 400 extra prison staff. It is a welcome move in the right direction, but more needs to be done in terms of both resource and reform. Our society deserves a prison system which is safe, secure and humane.”