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BPS comments on reports of violent incidents in prisons

13 October 2017

Recent reports of rising violence in UK prisons and issues over prisoner welfare have caused concerns among forensic psychologists.

Dee Anand, Chair of the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP), responding to the recent media reports of violent incidents in prisons, said:

“The BPS would echo recent statements expressing concern at the crisis in prisons. Ministry of Justice data demonstrates that violence, deaths in custody, suicide and self-harm are all at record levels. These are alarming and concerning figures. The promise of increased staff is desperately needed with data showing a net gain of only 75 new staff last year.

We welcome the Farmer Report commitment to making prisons places of reform. Psychologists in prisons are committed to encouraging reform and to creating rehabilitative cultures. We can only do this if the environment is safe, decent and just. These are basic ethical duties and would provide humane conditions for everyone in prisons.

On behalf of the DFP, I would urge the Government to do more and to do more quickly. Never have psychologists been more necessary and more relevant in prisons. We remain agents of change – organisationally and individually – and we must ensure that we continue to communicate, influence and facilitate change. We must ensure we utilise a proper evidence base to inform our decisions and that we place pressure on agencies drifting into bad science practices. If change is needed, we are the officers, agents, managers and eventual custodians of the change process.” 

Find out more about the DFP and their activities.

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