On May 18, 2016, Queen Elizabeth announced a plan – touted as the “biggest shakeup” in criminal justice reform since Victorian times – that will provide more self-governance to UK prisons and allow prisoners greater access to technology. The Queen’s annual address also included a strategy for GPS monitoring of work release prisoners and a reentry initiative to educate prisoners and encourage contact with their family members to reduce recidivism.
The British government will develop a budget to provide Internet access to prisoners while addressing security concerns. It also plans to allow prison governors at six facilities to set individual guidelines for rehabilitative services, educational programs, family contact and work programs.
“By trusting governors to get on with the job, we can make sure prisons are places of education, work, and purposeful activity. These reforms will reduce re-offending, cut crime, and improve public safety,” stated Justice Secretary Michael Gove.
The Queen’s announcement of the ambitious criminal justice initiative was in sharp contrast to prison reform efforts in the United States.
“Even looking at the way that they talk about it, the framing that’s used, even there you can see a difference from the way that prison reform is talked about in the U.S.,” said Bernadette Rabuy, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative.
”They’re really talking about the long term approach to crime and public safety, and that’s still kind of missing in the U.S.”
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