INSIDE KNOWLEDGE: What service users think about prison

INSIDE KNOWLEDGE: What service users think about prison

In May 2014, the  Justice Committee asked User Voice to engage service users and record their reactions to the Government’s programme of reforms and efficiency savings within prison. For this consultation, User Voice undertook focus groups across England with service users from two prisons and five probation trusts.

User Voice used its ability to access the voice of service users to look at the issues of the Justice Committee’s inquiry that most explicitly have an effect on the day to day life of prisoners. Additional questions regarding “working prisons” and lower operational costs were also addressed in the focus groups.

Some of the findings included in the report highlight that a majority of our consultation participants felt that working prisons had been achieved to an extent, but with serious flaws and reservations. Additionally, lower operational costs are having a serious negative impact on their security, safety, environment, food, and access to education, books and courses.

Service Users were extremely knowledgeable of the Government’s programme of reforms and efficiency savings, and demonstrated a great enthusiasm to have their voices heard. By allowing the people who have direct experience of prison to voice their opinions and perspectives, we are ultimately facilitating the shaping and development of improved services for all.

The complete evidence gathered through the focus groups have been presented to the Justice Committee and are available in our reports.

Download the full report here.