Timpsons heir says 'only a third of inmates should be in jail' (2024)

The new Prisons Minister has a radical attitude towards reforming the UK's prison system and believes 'only a third of inmates should actually be in jail'.

Timpsons CEO James Timpson, who was made the new minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation only yesterday, has a long track record in advocating for reforms to the UK prison system.

The son of the British cobbler's founder has previously advocated for shorter prison sentences and has been applauded for his schemes in rehabilitating offenders.

In an interview with Channel 4's Krishnan Guru Murphy earlier this year, the Timpsons boss claimed the country wasaddicted to 'punishment' and argued that 'a lot' of inmates 'shouldn't be in prison'.

The newly-minted peer also suggested that two-thirds of prisoners did not need to be there, instead backing community sentences which would see more offenders spared jail time.

Prisons Minister James Timpson in pictured during an interview with Channel 4 earlier this year where he laid out his radical attitude towards reforming the UK's prison system, stating that he believes 'only a third of inmates should actually be in jail'

The son of the British cobbler's founder has previously advocated for shorter prison sentences and has been applauded for his schemes in rehabilitating offenders

MrTimpson (pictured), was made the new minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation only yesterday and has a long track record in advocating for reforms to the UK prison system

Speaking to the Channel 4 News presenter in February, Mr Timpson said: 'I meet people in prison regularly who are serving sentences longer than they've been alive for already, and I think this is common sense being ignored, evidence being ignored, because there is this sentiment around punishment.

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'A custodial sentence is not always the right thing for people. We have 85,000 people in prison, it's gonna go up to 100,000 pretty soon – a third of them should definitely be there.

'There's another third in the middle who probably shouldn't be there but need some other kind of state support, a lot have massive mental health issues.

'There's another third, mainly women, where prison is a disaster for them because it's putting them back in the offending cycle.

The Timpson boss was then asked what proportion of prisoners that he employs actually steal from his business. He replied: 'It's a very low proportion. When I first started it was higher because I was still working it out.

'We don't recruit men under the age of 25 from prison, because they're just not mature enough, they won't stay and often they'll get back into their old ways.

Mr Timpson is seen speaking toChannel 4 's Krishnan Guru Murphy, telling him the country was addicted to 'punishment' and arguing that 'a lot' of inmates 'shouldn't be in prison'

James Timpson, chief executive of his father's Timpsons shoe repair chain business, was made the new minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation during the new Prime Minister's appointments on Friday

'If I recruit someone from prison they're more honest, stay with me longer, more loyal, and more likely to get promoted.

'If you walk around a prison, you get people who just want a job, they don't want to disappoint their family again.'

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Mr Timpson was then quizzed by Mr Guru Murphy on what he would do if he was in charge 'to try and change the way people think about prison'.

He said: 'I think we need a government that's brave, prepared to take politics out of sentencing, and is prepared to accept that we can't afford as a country to build £4-6billion worth of prisons to house more people. It just doesn't make sense.'

It comes as earlier this week, before he was elected Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer admitted he will almost certainly have to keep releasing prisoners early amid fears jails will run out of space.

The Labour leader conceded that 'in all likelihood' the policy being pursued by the current government would remain in place.

Britain's prison estate is severely overcrowded and numerous recent inspections have warned of dangerous conditions within jails due to staffing issues, endemic violence and widespread drug use.

Sir Keir Starmer (pictured today) admitted earlier this week before he was elected Prime Minister, he will almost certainly have to keep releasing prisoners early amid fears jails will run out of space

Sir Keir told the BBC: 'It simply wouldn't be realistic for me to say, ''the prisons are overcrowded on Thursday at 10 o'clock but somehow I've magicked up a new prison on Friday morning'' - that isn't going to happen.'

When asked about prison overcrowding, he said: 'This has got to be a problem we'll inherit if we are privileged to come in to serve and I'm not going to sit here and pretend to you that I can build a prison on the first day of the Labour government.

'There has been an absolute failure on prison building - half the money that was allocated hasn't been spent, and we haven't got enough prison places.'

'I have to say it's shocking to have to inherit a problem like that, that our criminal justice system has gotten to a point where we're releasing prisoners who should be in prison early and giving instructions to the police not to arrest in certain cases.

'That is how broken the system [is] - got to pick that up and start the fix, but also not just fix but renew and take forward.'

Timpsons heir says 'only a third of inmates should be in jail' (2024)
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