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Ipswich: MP urges cut in prison numbers

13:30 11 February 2013

Ben Gummer

Ben Gummer


TWO decades ago his party pioneered the “Prison Works” concept of justice – but now Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer is calling for fewer criminals to be locked up.


Mr Gummer said the fall in the level of crime had not resulted in a reduction in the number of people being locked away in prison, often for trivial offences.

He said: “We have to end the revolving door with people, often quite young people, going into prison, coming out of prison but being unable to get a job, claiming benefits, going back to crime and ending back in prison again.”

In America, some right-wing Republicans had realised that prison was not the answer, and was an expensive solution to the problem of rising crime, he said.

Mr Gummer added: “Some of those who are most associated with the right of the Republican Party now say that there has to be an alternative to prison in many more cases.”

He emphasised that for some people, especially violent criminals and those guilty of other serious offences, prison would remain the only appropriate sentence.

He felt that was especially the case for those guilty of “white collar” crimes and high-profile offenders, for whom being sent to prison was a particularly tough ordeal because of the shame they would feel.

And he felt his party was in the best position to try to change the penal system. “Labour have no idea what to do about prison policy – to be honest their supporters are less keen on looking for alternatives than most Conservatives.

“From an economic point of view, it does not make sense to lock more and more people up, and the more people go to prison the more they get used to it.”

He felt some people saw prison as another form of welfare handout – providing free housing.



  • Prisons should be much more Victorian and the warders should all be hefty ex-servicemen who detest a lack of personal discipline. Warders at the moment seem like a cross between hotel porters and carers. Anyone caught making the lives of decent people a misery should be locked up for as long as possible. Gummer should wake up!

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    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Rather ironical that he should mention the 'American' model ! It's Cameron & Osbourne following the 'American' economics model that is making the rich richer in this country and the poor can go to the wall ! I could add that if you create a society of 'Haves' & 'Have nots' then the 'have nots' have got nothing to lose by taking ! (I'm not condoning this, just pointing out the consequences) ! It is NOT a good model to follow, we British need to really consider what type of country and society we want ! Unfortunately since Thatcher our society has become a grab everything, trample over who ever gets in your way !........where does need end and GREED begin ?

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    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Prison may be a more effective deterrent if was a tough regime and not the soft touch it is now. It is well known that many criminals have a better life in prison than does an elderly war hero in a Care Home. So out with the TVs and the softly-softly approach and make prisoners work hard on basic rations and not want to come back. And if they riot, add big additional sentences.

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    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Please log me out

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • You will never do it while people are on the subsistence wages that they are today, coupled wit the fact that we have to subsidise these low wages with benefits. Tories living in a dream world again !

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • How about boot camps for petty drink related crimes,shoplifting,and young offenders with drug problems.when released 6 months on tag with early curfews latest being 10 o'clock depending on the seriousness of the crime.save taxpayers and the like millions of pounds.this would make room for the serious offenders in prisons.perhaps even the youngsters that believe crime is ok,could be sent to a boot camp instead of getting cautions and reoffending.

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    Monday, February 11, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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