UKIP Home Affairs Spokeswoman, Jane Collins MEP, has blasted a letter to the Times by Nick Clegg, Ken Clarke, and Jacqui Smith, calling for prisoner numbers to be reduced by half, saying, “public safety must be paramount, not more unworkable left-wing ideology.”
Miss Collins spoke out as prisons in the UK face meltdown in a series of riots and disturbances that have seen prison officers injured and riot teams drafted in to retake control.
Speaking of the state of British prisons, Ms Collins said, “The only thing that will solve this crisis is a vast increase in the number of prison officers.”
“Reducing the number of prisoners is not the answer and is simply the slippery slope to further cuts. It would also damage the public’s confidence in the courts ability to effectively deliver justice.
“Speak to any prisoner, and they will tell you many of the issues stem from too much ‘lock-up’ time and a lack of work, educational, and recreational activities.
“This in the main is caused by an over-worked Prison Service being asked to do too much, while at the same time facing a crisis in staffing and resourcing.
“Years of privatisation, under-investment and cuts are now coming home to roost, yet the grand plan of those responsible is to cut prisoner numbers, rather than take responsibility and provide a fit for purpose prison system.
"This is crazy as the public want to see justice meted out, not more soft sentencing that many criminals will simply laugh off.
“The only way our prisons will only once again become fit-for-purpose is by investing in staff numbers and making sure our prisons are properly manned.
“And throwing graduates in at the deep-end as recently proposed, will in my opinion, do nothing more than exacerbate the current heightened tensions.
“The answer is to use the deep pool of talent we have within our veteran’s community, and offer prison jobs to former members of the armed forces, as proposed by UKIP over two years ago.
“Former members of the Armed forces are already trained to face aggression objectively and pacify heated situations. They are tailor made for this kind of job and would bring a wealth of talent and experience into the ranks of the Prison Service.
“Harnessing the talents of veterans in this way would be a win – win situation, as it would provide stable, public sector employment to veterans and allow for the rapid expansion of the Prison Service to tackle the crisis we currently face.”