The Catholic Church today launched its latest document on prison reform as Justice Minister Liz Truss is set to unveil her strategy for improving prisons, including an additional £14 million for more than 400 extra staff.
Cardinal Nichols (left) launched The Right Road (see below for link) at a Caritas Social Action Network reception in Parliament attended by Catholic charities, chaplains and experts working in the field as well as both MPs and Peers. It comes 12 years after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference published A Place of Redemption, which set out the Church’s vision for a prison system that rehabilitates offenders, supports victims and works for society as a whole.
Cardinal Nichols said: “Our society is failing prisoners and prisons are failing our society. Even more than before, a bold and serious programme of prison reform is needed. Many of our prisons are more overcrowded and dangerous than at any point in recent history. Every time a prisoner or an officer comes to harm this represents both a human cost and a failure of the system. It is clear that far too often prisons are places of despair rather than places of redemption.
“However better prisons are possible and now is the time for courageous improvements to sentencing, education, staffing, health services, family contact, and pastoral care. This will require resources and determination, but we have a duty to fix our broken system for the Common Good of all our society.
“The Church has a great deal to contribute in this endeavour and we have recently set out our vision for prison reform in The Right Road. I look sincerely forward to discussing this with the Government and engaging with the Secretary of State’s reform agenda.”
For The Right Road and A Place of Redemption go to