10th August 2017
Lord Farmer’s report (2017) The Importance of Strengthening Prisoners' Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Reduce Intergenerational Crime was undertaken in collaboration with the charity Clinks and commissioned by the UK government. The report aimed to establish a link between a prisoner’s relationship with family and a reduction in reoffending. The report was part of the government’s strategy to overhaul prison policy, and according to Lord Farmer it is intended to be one of the biggest overhauls in a generation. The report was commissioned to act as a point of reference for the Secretary of State as he “rolls out the wider reform programme”.
Lord Farmer discusses the concept of the ‘golden thread’, whereby “relationships are fundamentally important if people are to change” (p 4). The report highlights that the ‘golden thread’ should be woven throughout all aspects of prison reform. The report highlights that understaffing, overcrowding and violence all hinder the ability to construct positive relationships between prison officers and prisoners, and between prisoners and their families. The government has secured an additional £100 million a year investment for an extra 2,500 prison officers, according to the Ministry of Justice Press Release. They state that this increase will help alleviate pressure on the current system, while also allowing the development of relationships through increased one-to-one contact and the facilitation of programmes where family play a crucial role in rehabilitation. The report highlights that the mere presence of family will not in itself institute change, but familial involvement in rehabilitation programmes that support increased familial relationships and prosocial behaviour would have a positive effect.
Key points from the report include:
For more details, see the following articles: