Government’s policy record savaged

    The government’s track record on dealing with young offenders was
    savaged at the campaign launch by ex-offender Bobby Cummines.

    The chief executive of ex-offenders’ organisation Unlock, who has
    spent a total of 13 years in prison, said very little had changed
    from when he was offending more than 20 years ago.

    He said that, at the time, he wanted people to listen to him – and
    slammed authorities for failing to listen to children today. He
    accused the government of paying lip service to offenders as “they
    only hear what they want to hear”.

    “When kids get it wrong we demonise them, but these are not bad
    people,” he said. “This is the 21st century, yet we still have
    Victorian regimes in Victorian establishments.”

    Cummines described Tony Blair as the “governor of Alcatraz” for
    locking-up more people than anywhere else in Europe.

    He stressed that more community sentences should be used as
    children were leaving prison brutalised rather than
    rehabilitated.

    “We want a government that respects and protects human rights, not
    neglects and rejects them,” he said.

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