2 Lord Woodley debates involving the Scotland Office

Indeterminate Sentences

Lord Woodley Excerpts
Monday 29th April 2024

(3 weeks, 4 days ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Woodley Portrait Lord Woodley (Lab)
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My Lords, I am delighted to follow the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, in his crusade for justice for these prisoners. The Government rejected resentencing of DPPs and IPPs, as the Minister knows, arguing that the Parole Board has consistently not backed these prisoners so therefore they should just lie in prison and rot there. However, the former head of the Parole Board, Martin Jones, now the Chief Inspector of Probation, is one of many experts calling for resentencing to end the nightmare injustice of imprisonment without end. What is the Government’s real reason for rejecting resentencing? Is it because they do not want to be seen as soft on crime ahead of a general election?

Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, it is not the case that the Government are acting out of that reason—the position on resentencing has been rejected twice by the Government at different times. Instead, we take the view that as there is a public protection aspect to these sentences, it is apt that they continue to be treated in the current way. I reject the noble Lord’s proposition that people are being left to “rot” in prison. The action plan has achieved the extension of the scope of the psychology services so that they can continue to support some of the more complex IPP cases. The safety team in HMPPS has developed and issued a safety toolkit concentrating on the needs of IPP prisoners and HMPPS has also commissioned new IPP delivery plans to roll out in May 2024. The Government are not inactive in this area.

Prison Officers: Occupational Pension

Lord Woodley Excerpts
Thursday 16th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord and I share a background in the criminal justice system, and I am as aware as he is of the potential for violence to be inflicted on prison officers pursuing their duties. When a prison officer is no longer fit to undertake operational duties, and the operational health practitioner confirms that ill-health retirement is appropriate, the officer would be retired due to ill health and may receive in full the pension benefits due to them, calculated up to the last day of service. I acknowledge with gratitude that the noble Lord alerted me to his question in advance, so I was able to seek further background from officials. If there is other material on which he would like me to expand, I can of course speak to him in person, or I can write.

Lord Woodley Portrait Lord Woodley (Lab)
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My Lords, prison officers get unfair bad press, and they are undoubtedly badly treated by this Government. There is poor pay and a pension age of 68, as has just been said, all while working in often ultraviolent workplaces. Additionally, the Government cynically exploit those emergency front-line workers by depriving them of the most fundamental employment right of all: the right to strike. Second-rate treatment on pay, pensions and the right to strike is immoral and cannot possibly be justified. Can the Minister explain why prison officers in Scotland, who have the right to strike, are legally allowed to withdraw their labour, while those south of the border are not?

Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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My Lords, in relation to the final matter that the noble Lord raises, in spite of my Scottish background, I regret to say that I am not at this stage able to answer his question directly. However, with his leave I shall look into the divergence between Scotland and England and Wales and revert to him in writing.