If destitution hunger & mental health problems continue to get worse no amount of prison building will meet demand

27 March 2017


To Members of the Prison and Courts Bill committee. 
cc APPG penal affairs & APPG on mental health. 

As destitution increases in the UK so will the demand for prisons.

I hope the committee will consider the human context of the Bill when you start work on it next Tuesday. According to both the IFS and the Resolution Foundation the poverty of the poor in the UK is set to get even worse while the wealth of the rich will increase ever higher.

If destitution, hunger and mental health problems continue to get worse no amount of prison building will meet the demand. 

May I draw your attention to letters published by The Guardian on the 20th March. "There are several reasons which could help British governments to explain why England and Wales have the top Western jailing rate. There is shocking deprivation in many cities, ever rising homelessness and no policies to end them. The single adult unemployment benefit, and the bottom rung of Universal Credit, is £73.10 a week. It has reduced in value since 1979 and has not been increased since April 2015. It is taxed by 259 local authorities since April 2013. It can be stopped by a benefit sanction for one month, two months or three years. That's what they experience when they come out; going back to prison is a more comfortable option. In prison criminals are fed and housed. 

That £73.10 a week is incapable of providing a healthy diet and other necessities for a woman during the development of a child in her womb. Poor maternal nutrition and low birth weight have, since 1972, been called he strongest predictor of poor learning ability, school performance, behavioral disorders and crime by the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition." 

Yours sincerely, 

Rev Paul Nicolson. 
Taxpayers Against Poverty