Yesterday it was confirmed in a Government Statement that there aren’t enough prison cells to cope with a recent surge in offender numbers. Disappointingly the MoJ failed to provide the Opposition with an advance copy of the Statement, leaving only 5 minutes for us to read it before the Minister appeared before the House.

The Minister did apologise but the Government’s incompetence became increasingly clear as the debate went on. 10,000 prison places have been lost under the Conservatives. Prisons are now at capacity, and the MoJ has been forced to request the emergency use of 400 police cells.
I’ve previously raised concerns about the number of prisoners suffering from severe mental illness, who should be in secure hospitals instead. I asked the Minister again about the long delays in transferring prisoners to hospital, and also asked for assurances that no-one suffering severe mental illness would be detained in these emergency cells.

While the Justice Secretary focuses on keeping his job, my Labour colleagues and I are working to rebuild our broken justice system – both in keeping dangerous criminals off our streets and in ensuring those who are too ill to be in prison get the treatment they need.

Watch clip here.

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