Guest speaker at a dinner organised by the Patrons Club of the North West Hampshire Conservatives was Sir David Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of HM Prisons.
"Many had read Sir David's recent book on the prison service and wanted to come along to meet him, and hear him develop his ideas. The Patron's Club invites people of all parties and none to speak at its dinners, and this one was a sell-out."
Sir David's theme was the need for clarity about the objectives of the prison service, and for proper administration at the top of it. He was critical of the high rate of re-offending, and said that while this country ran some excellent prisons, we could learn much from other countries, such as Spain, who had a different approach. He floated the idea of week-end prisons, and stressed the inmportance of offenders who were in prison being near their homes and families. He also criticised the large number of targets set for the Prison Service, and the amount of time managers of prisons had to spend filling in forms. He made the point that it was difficult to rehabilitate prisoners if they kept moving from prison to prison, and emphasised the need to do more on the preventive side.
The event was chaired by Patron's Club Chairman, Sandy Copland, and Sir George proposed the vote of thanks.