It’s been a very busy month for me in the Shadow Justice Team. On 26th January it was Justice Questions in the House of Commons. I took the opportunity to raise the statistic to the Minister for Prisons, Andrew Selous that Prison Service anti-riot squads were used on 339 occasions in 2015; which was an increase of 52% compared to 2014. Following from this, I asked Mr Selous if this statistic indicated to him that prisons are overcrowded and not fit for educational purpose.
You can watch the exchange here: https://youtu.be/M7Z7e9Ye-84
Original article referred to in my question: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3369281/Riot-squads-called-deal-violent-prisoners-single-day-past-year.html
The Shadow Justice team also managed to secure an opposition day debate on prisons and probation. The debate was well attended, with 22 speakers. What was good to see was that overall (excluding Philip Davies MP for Shipley), the tone of the debate has been one of consensus; with all Members agreeing that something must be done with our prisons, and how reform in penal and prison policy is absolutely essential in order to tackle the growing crisis in our prisons and probation centres.
It was my first speech from the Despatch Box and I gave the closing speech for the debate. I highlighted the crisis the Government has on its hands with prisons, how important it is for prison staff to feel safe in their workplace, the 617% increase of new psychoactive substances in prisons and the implications that has on prison safety for fellow prisoners and staff, and why the reckless privatisation of the probation service by the coalition Government was such a mistake.
You can watch my speech here: https://youtu.be/SVUztOPa64w