Reform prison policy, says Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a commission on penal policy to examine alternatives to custody in the annual Prison Reform Trust lecture.

In a thorough critique of current penal policy, Rowan Williams said the country could no longer manage with an expanding prison population with such high levels of re-offending.

He called for an end to a culture which opposed the needs of victims to those of offenders, saying this failed to encourage offenders to take responsibility for their actions and did not empower victims.

Williams said there should be a move away from “custodial fundamentalism”, with ever increasing numbers of custodial sentences, towards more community and restorative justice projects, which would help both victims and offenders.

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