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Commissioner Baird Urges MP’s to Back a Call for Independent Scrutiny of Prisons

27th March 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is urging MPs to back a call for independent scrutiny of prisons.

Commissioner Baird has written to all MPs in the Northumbria area asking them to sign an Early Day Motion urging the Government to facilitate the independent scrutiny.

The EDM has been tabled in the House of Commons after the Howard League of Penal Reform Chief Executive, Frances Cook, was stopped from visiting two private prisons by the Ministry of Justice.

The Howard League is a vocal opponent of prison privatisation. The visit was intended to ensure those in prison have acceptable standards of living.

Vera Baird has asked Northumbria’s MPs to consider the information sent out by the Howard League for Penal Reform in relation to the EDM.

She said: “It’s vital that independent scrutiny is available in prisons.

“Reducing crime is obviously a priority for me and cutting reoffending is critical in helping to do this. By also ensuring prisons and other agencies work with prisoners, this can bring about lasting change that benefits the whole community.

“The Ministry of Justice should welcome scrutiny from organisations such as the Howard League for Penal Reform, not ban them from visiting prisons.”