Wednesday 30 October 2002

Cut jail terms to reduce crowding, says

Overcrowding in jails is a “cancer” eating at the
Prison Service, the lord chief justice said last night, calling for
curbs on imprisoning offenders.

Lord Woolf said the time had come to end the punitive approach
to offenders because it had failed. Instead sentences should be
matched with available prison space and sentencing guidelines
prevented over-crowding becoming worse.

Woolf added that many inmates should not be in jail,
particularly those with sentences of less than 12 months.

At Manchester, he cautioned ministers against going ahead with
proposals, expected in the Queen’s speech, to curb jury trial
for serious fraud and some other cases.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 30 October page 2

Early release scheme

The home office is to release hundreds of short term offenders
early from prison in the latest attempt to reduce overcrowding in

Prisons minister Hilary Benn announced yesterday that the
extension of home detention curfews would come into force in
December. Offenders serving between eight months and four years
will be eligible for release three months early on the proviso that
they have an electronic tag.

Prisoner governors would carry out a risk assessment first and
they would be released on the condition they agree to a curfew
between nine and 12 hours a day.

The scheme would not apply to inmates convicted of sex offences
which would result in them going on the sex offenders’

Extending the existing scheme could result in the early release
of 650 offenders, equivalent to a medium sized jail, according to
Whitehall officials.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 30 October page 2

Rapist’s anniversary attack

A sex attacker struck on the tenth anniversary of what is
believed to have been his first rape.

The attacker, who preys on older women, including some in their
90s, is thought to have broken into 75 pensioners’ homes over
the past 14 years.

He has been linked to three rapes and 17 indecent  assaults.

In the latest incident earlier this month, the 75-year-old woman
was left unharmed after she persuaded the man to leave after
talking to him about his mother.

Source:- The Times  Wednesday 30 October page 4

Container homes ‘hold key to solving

Social workers, teachers, students and nurses who are unable to
pay for affordable housing could be lodged in Chinese-made, high
quality converted metal freight containers stacked up to 16 storeys
high and sited almost anywhere that land is available, according to
a group of Britain’s engineers and architects.

The radical plan to adapt the technology to solve
Britain’s growing social housing crisis would, they say,
provide homes which could be quickly and cheaply erected and if
necessary be easily moved.

The plan has been presented to MPs, housing associations,
Britain’s largest social landlords and the NHS. The first
prototypes are now being developed.

Source:- The Guardian  Wednesday 30 October page 6

MPs to examine league table culture

MPs are to scrutinise the government’s “measurement
culture” in a far reaching inquiry into targets and league

The review by the commons public administration committee will
question whether devices such as hospital and school league tables
and waiting list targets really improve services.

MPs, due to take evidence tomorrow, will also examine whether
the use of performance targets genuinely ensures better
accountability of government to the public. It will also look at
whether Whitehall departments should not themselves be subject to
ranking in performance league tables.

Source:- The Guardian  Wednesday 30 October page 13

Blunkett comes to the defence of proposals to imprison
mentally ill indefinitely

The home secretary is to defend his plans to imprison some
mentally disordered people amid signs that the proposals will be
failed to be passed by parliament.

Labour MPs will join Tories, Liberal Democrats and independent
peers to try to block the Mental Health Bill to be announced in the
Queen’s speech next month.

Speaking to the Zito Trust today, David Blunkett will say the
Bill will stop the victims of people with a mental illness being
treated as “second class citizens”.

Blunkett will insist his measures strike the right balance.

Blunkett is expected to say: “The right of safety for
victims and the community with the rights of individuals with
mental health problems are complementary aims, not opposing

Source:- Independent  Wednesday 30 October page 2

Children in court divorce disputes ‘worse

Disputes between divorcing parents over contact with children
are usually worsened when solicitors go to court, according to
research today.

Applications for court orders when judges specify who sees the
children and when tend to “fuel conflict rather than resolve
it”, the Joseph Rowntree research says today.

Money would be better spent on counselling services, trying to
improve relations between parents and children and help them find
solutions out of court, the study says.

Source:- Independent  Wednesday 30 October page 9

Scottish news

Wave of complaints over care of the

The body which regulates standards of care for 500,000 people in
Scotland has received 600 complaints in the seven months since it
was founded.

The Care Commission oversees a range of institutions from
nurseries and children’s homes to accommodation for offenders
and boarding schools.

Source:- The Herald October 30 page 10

School is more of a bore for British

Teenagers in the UK find school more boring than their peers in
other industrialised countries, according to a report published

Source:- The Herald October 30 page 10

Councils split over zones for prostitutes

Proposed legislation to allow local authorities to set up
“tolerance zones” where street prostitutes could
legally tout for business has divided councils.

Source:- The Herald October 30 page 9

Backing for racial tolerance scheme

The head of a multi-ethnic school in Glasgow, Tom McDonald of
All Saints Secondary School said the Respect Scotland project
launched yesterday to promote tolerance and understanding would
help tackle the root causes of racial violence.

Source: The Herald October 30 page 7

Welsh news

Coroner fears more young drug deaths

A south Wales coroner has spoken of his fears that more families
will lose loved ones through drug abuse in Valley communities.

Philip Walters was hearing evidence into the deaths of two more
young people whose lives had been blighted by drug addiction.

He voiced his fears on the day that Home Secretary, David
Blunkett announced more cash to fight the growing crisis in the

Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday 29 October page 4

Straight from prison into a council house

Criminals leaving prison have top priority in Cardiff’s
council housing queue although there are more than 8,000 people
waiting for homes in the city.

The council has given more than 50 former prisoners temporary or
permanent homes over the past few months as a result of new Welsh
Assembly guidelines.

The guidelines extend the categories of people considered to be
priorities to include ex-prisoners who have no accommodation to
return to when they leave custody.

Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday 29 October page 5

‘Domestic abuse is a crime that will be repeated
if not reported’

A two-page feature on a south Wales support unit that is
providing safety and support for women and their children who are
the victims of domestic violence.

The Women’s Safety Unit in Cardiff, which is part funded
and managed by the NSPCC provides a complete package of support
through multi-agency partnership.

Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday 29 October page

Housing Benefit reform call

A call for urgent reforms to housing benefit is to be heard in
the Welsh Assembly today.

The reform is desperately needed because of mounting levels of
rent arrears and a report by the Audit Commission reveals that in
March 2002 arrears from council tenants amounted to £34m the
equivalent of £151 for every tenant in Wales.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 30 October page 8

Men left in the shadows by the plague of domestic

A feature looking at the problem of domestic violence from a
male perspective.

There is an in depth interview with one man who suffered abuse
at the hands of his partner, the mother of his two children.

The article chronicles the toll that the domestic violence has
taken on his life.

Source:- Western Mail Wednesday 30 October page 10 







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