New webroots campaign launched yesterday - PrisonWorks.org - looks very interesting. The pros and cons of prison have always bugged and intrigued me. I remain certain, however, whilst not ignoring the deterrent it can represent, that, it can be a force for good with a greater emphasis on how prisoners are treated whilst inside. It can help criminals rebuild and reshape their lives.
For a period whilst at Cambridge I began to believe that the man behind the phrase "prison works", Iron Mike Howard, was one of the worst Home Secretaries we'd had in terms of his legacy. I revised this greatly in no small part due to the conversation we had when I first met him. I challenged him about his record and he, quite rightly, pointed to the unambiguously excellent statistics for his period at the Home Office. His record in office was quite exceptional, especially when compared to the monumental wreck that represents Labour policy for that department. As he showed, prison can work. Hopefully this new effort, which draws from Howard's time as Home Secretary, will help demonstrate this.