Nick Clegg has called for cross-party co-operation to tackle prison overcrowding.
Responding to Liz Truss’ speech today on prison reform, Nick Clegg said:
“As today's Panorama investigation has demonstrated, our prison system is in deep crisis. Violence, drug use and suicide are at levels which are unacceptable and unsustainable.
"No meaningful rehabilitation can take place under these conditions. As a consequence, prisons are incubating crime instead of reducing it. The failure of successive governments to tackle the crisis in our jails is locking the country into an entirely avoidable cycle of crime.
"Instead of attacking those who propose solutions to this crisis, the Justice Secretary should focus on concrete steps to relieve the pressure that overcrowding is putting on the system.
"It would take many years to bring about a large-scale change. But it would be possible to make modest short-term reductions in prison numbers without changing sentencing practice, by reducing the number of days added onto sentences for breach of rules in prison and by recalling fewer offenders to prison post-release.
"If the Secretary of State hopes that prisons can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and reduce numbers without the need for hard policy choices, then she is mistaken. We need to see immediate steps to alleviate overcrowding together with a long-term plan for a smaller, more sustainable and effective prison system. This requires leadership, and cross-party cooperation."