Political News Updates

11.03.2016

Parliamentary Briefing - Prison Reform - Technology

The POA have been a major supporter for the introduction of new technology into our prison system. We have called for and supported the trials of body-worn cameras by staff. The POA also supported and welcomed the changes to legislation that allowed for the introduction mobile phone blocking technology. The POA welcome the potential offered by the introduction of satellite tracking technology

It is said that the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly but on each of these initiatives, that the POA believe will greatly improve the safety and security of our prisons, the Government cannot or will not set out a clear timetable for the full introduction and use of these proven technologies.

The POA were very supportive of the campaign for legislative changes that brought about the introduction of the Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Act in 2012. Since that time the Ministry of Justice appear to have done little or nothing to introduce this vitally important technological resources into our prisons.

The increasing use of mobile phones in prisons is already well documented through the questions Members of Parliament have raised on the matter. What Government have failed to explain is why they have not introduced this proven technology that would in one simple act remove the usefulness of these devices from offenders?

The potential to use satellite tracking for offenders was first piloted by the Ministry of Justice between September 2004 and June 2006 in three areas of England and Wales. Though these pilots were considered as successful yet 10 years later the Ministry of Justice has failed to progress the use of this technology.

Conclusion

Claims by Government that they plan to introduce these new high tech systems may generate a positive headline in the press. The announcement of their planned introduction may give the impression that the Ministry of Justice has a proactive plan for the future.

Unfortunately, the delivery of these new proven technologies seems to always fall away when it comes to their physical delivery to the front line.

The POA ask the members of the Justice Select committee to press Mr. Gove for a clear timetable for the introduction of these three new technologies across all prisons, when he appears before you on the 16th March 2016.