A new report has identified that the current prison building programme in England & Wales is unsustainable, and that spending more on rehabilitation and prevention would cut crime.
The report, Cutting Crime: the Case for Justice Reinvestment, is based on a two-year inquiry by a cross-party group of MPs.
The MPs suggest that the current public spending crisis opens up an opportunity for a radical rethink of large-scale spending commitments.
They advocate capping the prison population at the 84,000 level and investing resources in local education, health, drug, alcohol and community programmes that would be more effective in cutting crime.
The report recommends that Courts should regard sending offenders to jail as a last resort, adding that “the underlying needs of many persistent offenders who cause most problems to local communities would be managed more coherently in the community".
Alan Beith, the committee’s chairman stated that "prison is no answer, for example, to persistent crimes driven by addiction."
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