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Consultation on Criminal Justice

A private and possibly unique consultation today involved a Government Minister, the Church of England Board for Social Responsibility, the Prison Reform Trust and contributors to a new book of essays, The Future of Criminal Justice.

This consultation took place on the day the Criminal Justice Bill enters the House of Commons for debate. It provided a forum for discussion of the need to:
reserve prison as an important place of last resort for serious and violent offenders
enable offenders to serve their sentence in a community with opportunities to pay back for the harm they have caused
build a safer society.

Present were:
The Minister for Criminal Justice System - the Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC
The Director General of the Prison Service, Martin Narey
The Director of the National Probation Service, Eithne Wallace
The Chief Inspectors of Prisons and Probation Anne Owers and Professor Rod Morgan
many of the contributors to the book.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd and Rt. Hon Dr Rowan Williams, chaired the consultation, which also included prison chaplains and others active in prison reform and the care of offenders inside prison and after release.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said: "The issues raised in these essays and highlighted at this consultation are fundamental to the health and cohesion of a just society. I believe Christianity and the Church can offer important insights and perspectives-born in part out of the work of prison chaplains-in relation to many of these challenges. I am delighted to have had this early opportunity as Archbishop of Canterbury to engage with some of those most closely involved in these issues."

The role of religion, the faith communities and voluntary organisations was also explored. Faith communities and voluntary organisations are already involved in serving both prisoners and the prison system through the agency of prison Chaplaincy and through the role of the community in the rehabilitation of offenders. Their wider role in the regeneration of communities was also recognised.

The editors of the book, the Revd Dr Peter Sedgwick of the Church of England Board for Social Responsibility and Revd Dr Christopher Jones, Chaplain and Fellow of St Peter's College Oxford, also joined the consultation. A full list of participants is attached.
ends

Further information from:
Steve Jenkins or Arun Kataria tel (020) 7898-1326
Juliet Lyon, Director, Prison Reform Trust tel 020 7251 5070, 07762 093 105

Note to Editors
At noon in Church House Westminster today Lord Hurd of Westwell chaired the launch of a book of essays, The Future of Criminal Justice. This collection of wide ranging and powerful essays brings together policy makers at the highest level, campaigners for prison reform, prison chaplains and those working in prison charities. The book published by SPCK is dedicated to the retired Bishop to Prisons, The Rt Revd Bob Hardy.
SPCK - 020 7643 0382

List of attendees:

The Future of Criminal Justice

Delegates at Consultation on 4th December

Rabbi Michael Binstock Office of the Chief Rabbi/Prison Chaplain

Bishop Terry Brain Bishop of Salford and (Roman Catholic) Bishop to Prisons

Dr Isobel Burch Cumbria

Mrs Sue Burridge Church of England Board for Social Responsibility

Judy Clements Prison Service Director, Diversity and Equality Group

Stuart Dew Churches' Criminal Justice Forum

Geoff Dobson Deputy Director, Prison Reform Trust

Canon Alan Duce Chaplain, H.M.P. Lincoln

Lord Falconer Minister of State for Criminal Justice

David Faulkner Chair, Howard League

Julia Flack Probation Service

Myra Fulford Director, Prison Advice and Care Trust

John Harding Parole Board. Retired Chief Probation Officer ILPS

Bishop Bob Hardy Bishop of Lincoln Retired Bishop to Prisons

Simon Hughes MP Liberal Democrat Party Chief Spokesman, Home Affairs

Lord Hurd of Westwell President of Prison Reform Trust, former Home Secretary

Revd Christopher Jones Chaplain, St Peter's College, Oxford

Mrs Brenda Large The Magistrate's Association representative

Juliet Lyon Director, Prison Reform Trust (PRT)

Clive Martin Director, CLINKS

Professor Rod Morgan HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Martin Narey Director General, Prison Service

Ven. William Noblett Chaplain - General Prison Service

Anne Owers HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Sir David Ramsbotham Retired HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Lucie Russell Prison Reform Trust

Revd Dr Peter Sedgwick Church of England Board for Social Responsibility, (BSR)

Bishop Peter Selby Bishop of Worcester and (Anglican) Bishop to Prisons

David Skidmore Director, Church of England Board for Social Responsibility

Dr Khalid Sofi Muslim Council of Great Britain

Eithne Wallace Director, National Probation Service

Lord Warner Chair, Youth Justice Board

Most Revd Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury