Dignity and respect should be at the core of our criminal justice system.
This is crucial if we are serious about reducing reoffending rates, supporting young people who have grown up in poverty and caring for people with poor mental health.
No one is born wanting to break the law. And yet, our criminal justice system does far too little to help people build a life free from crime.
In the UK, we imprison more people than in any other country in Western Europe.
Prisons are badly overcrowded, with degrading and unsanitary conditions. Deaths, assaults, self-harm and drug use have all become far too common.
Prisons are failing in their central purpose: to rehabilitate prisoners so they don’t go on to commit more crimes.
We demand better.
The Liberal Democrats are determined to cut crime by taking a radical new approach to rehabilitation.
At our Autumn Conference we were proud to introduce a new holistic rehabilitation policy, based on our spokespeople’s paper Turning Lives Around. It calls for:
- Legislating for a presumption against prison sentences shorter than 12 months.
- Reducing the overrepresentation of people from BAME backgrounds throughout the criminal justice system.
- Ending overcrowding in prisons and recruiting more prison officers.
- Ensuring that all prison-leavers have suitable accommodation, a bank account and employment or training, and are registered with a local GP.
- Reforming criminal record disclosure rules and removing questions about criminal convictions from job application forms.
- Investing in a national network of women’s centres: one-stop-shops providing services and support for women in or at risk of entering the criminal justice system.
Our new policy will reduce the number of people unnecessarily in prison, help people to turn their lives around, and build safer communities with less crime.
This policy is broad and ambitious. To see the motion in full click here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/f12-rehabilitation-of-offenders