I welcome the net increase of 868 new prison officers, starting careers which provide offenders with support to change their lives. This is a positive step forwarding in correcting some of the issues facing our prison system.
David thought you might be interested in seeing an article he recently wrote for the Naphill gazette.
"Just two days after the General Election, it was good to spend time at Naphill fete – a welcome reminder that normal life continues regardless of political or media frenzy. While touching base with a number of local organisations, I was particularly interested to find out more about the Hughenden Street initiative, which I can perhaps best describe as using a Neighbourhood Watch approach to help elderly and vulnerable people in the parish. Bucks County Council is looking to Hughenden as a pilot to test out an approach that, if successful, could be introduced across the county. I hope very much that this experiment takes off in a big way. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or look at their video on YouTube.
'That was the Saturday. Next day, I’d just cooked and eaten Sunday lunch when the phone rang. It was my Private Secretary in the Commons Leader’s office saying that Number 10 wanted me to come into London. After hurriedly getting into a suit and tie (I thought that tee shirt and shorts probably weren’t quite right for this!) I set off, and at about 4.30 I was offered a move to become Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
'Since then, it’s been a pretty much vertical learning curve. I’m now responsible for the courts and tribunals, for prisons and probation. It’s a fascinating brief, but is never likely to be an easy one. One challenge is to push forward with an ambitious plan for court modernisation, including using digital technology to cut back dramatically on both paperwork and the requirement for people to travel to attend court in person even for formal, routine proceedings that take no more than a few minutes to conclude.
'We need to make prisons safe and secure, while also using the time that we have when people are in custody and on probation, including through effective education and training programmes, to make it less likely that they will reoffend after release.
As Lord Chancellor, I have a particular responsibility to uphold the rule of law and defend the independence of the judiciary. The role also involves some ceremonial duties, notably taking part in the State Opening of Parliament and presenting the Queen with her speech. It was a hot day and the official robes are heavy, but I got through it without keeling over!"