The report finds that most agencies are not yet able to recover to their pre-COVID-19 position and warns that without a coordinated whole-system plan recovery is likely to be disjointed and risks further fracturing the criminal justice system in England and Wales.
Bishop Rachel responds: “This report highlights again the need to look at the big picture: we need a root and branch reform of the criminal justice system that addresses why people offend as well as what are the best ways to rehabilitate and prevent reoffending. The UK’s current prison population is already the largest in Western Europe and it just does not square with the aspirations to achieve rehabilitation and re-offending. We are failing both victims and perpetrators of crime and indeed society itself. Sending more people to prison for longer is helping no one.
“The strain on those working in prisons has been immense and low-staffing levels now across the prison and probation services is extremely challenging. During the pandemic, the one external group of people who consistently entered prisons was the Chaplains and I pay tribute to their commitment to the wellbeing of all those who work and live in prison. This report is a timely reminder that the criminal justice was already creaking and as we recover and rebuild, there is an opportunity to go in a different direction which truly prioritises safer communities, rehabilitated offenders and restored relationships.”