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World News July 11, 2024

UK’s overflowing prisons present PM Starmer with early crisis

Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s new government faces a major challenge with Britain’s prisons, which are nearing capacity. The country has the highest incarceration rate in western Europe, and a failure to expand prison facilities in line with tougher sentencing laws has exacerbated the problem. Many prisons are already overcrowded, leading to early releases and delayed court cases.

The head of the Prison Governors Association, Tom Wheatley, warned that offenders might soon have to be held in police cells, straining resources and disrupting the justice system. Starmer, who has criticized the previous government’s handling of prisons, has little financial leeway to address the issue, with prison spending expected to fall.

As of July 5, England and Wales had 87,453 prisoners, close to the maximum capacity of 88,864. Starmer has acknowledged that resolving the overcrowding issue will take time and cannot guarantee an immediate end to early releases. He appointed James Timpson, known for his belief in rehabilitation, as the new prisons minister. However, efforts to reduce reoffending rates, which are currently high, will require significant time and resources.

Source – CGTN

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