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The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, became Anglican Bishop for HM Prisons in England and Wales towards the end of 2020, taking over from her predecessor, The Rt Revd James Langstaff.
In her role, Bishop Rachel is tasked with supporting the network of Anglican Prison Chaplains who share in the front-line care of prisoners, as well as developing relationships and being involved with people and issues across the breadth of the Criminal Justice System. This includes probation and community services, as well as many different charities and organisations. In all of this, Bishop Rachel seeks to use her role as a Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, not least working for a change to systems and sentencing for the most vulnerable people in our communities, whilst not losing sight of appropriate justice for victims of crime.
The Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, supports Bishop Rachel in work with young offenders, which will be a natural extension to Bishop Libby’s work as vice-chair of The Children’s Society. The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield, supports with the male estate and brings his experience of being in a diocese with a number of prisons.
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, hosted an event in the House of Lords to raise awareness of the impact of long-term sentences on prisoners and victims.
Earlier this year, the Independent Commission into the Experience of Victims and Long-term Prisoners published its report, ‘Making sense of sentencing – doing justice to both victim and prisoner’. The number of people in England and Wales given a prison sentence of more than 10 years has more than doubled in a decade, and the report supports other evidence that the lengthening of sentences for serious crime has not worked. ‘It does not work for victims. It does not work for prisoners. And it does not work for society as a whole.’