|Bishop Richard in Feltham Young Offenders Prison|
“Prisons should never exist purely to punish offenders. It is extremely welcome that the most significant reform of UK prison law for over 50 years is introducing a statutory duty for prisons to provide reform, rehabilitation, and preparation for life outside. We have been engaging closely with this legislation, bringing the Church’s vision and experience to the debate.
In particular we are highlighting the importance of regular contact with families, good access to chaplaincy, and a prevailing standard of decency within prison walls. All of this is essential to rehabilitation and to respecting the dignity of those in prison - a dignity which is never lost despite what crimes may have been committed.
Many MPs have raised these issues in Parliament already and I am especially grateful to those who have highlighted the vital role that prison chaplains play. We will of course continue to engage as the bill proceeds through parliament.”