The British government has come under fire over plans to use prison ships to ease overcrowding. It comes after the Home Office placed an advert this week seeking firms to provide places for up to 800 prisoners in floating jails. Britain’s only prison ship was shut down last year after it was described as “unsuitable, expensive and in the wrong place”.
Prison reform groups have denounced the move as a short-term solution. They say it could increase reoffending rates, and have accused the government of failing to address the real problems.
“The immediate crisis is been caused partly by panic measures from the Home Office and the Home Secretary must take immediate responsibility for that,” said Frances Crook, head of the Howard League for Penal Prison Reform.
Overcrowded prisons – a Europe-wide problem – and one which prevents inmates from receiving proper rehabilitation, according to England and Wales’ most senior judge earlier this month. Lord Phillips went on to describe them as “social dustbins” for drug addicts and the mentally ill.