David’s House Notes

17th January 2019

Brexit continues to dominate politics in 2019 just as it did in 2018.  It is not only a big issue but it is also fast moving so I am conscious that anything I write in this column might be overtaken by events by the time you read it.

So this month, I thought I would say a little more about my responsibilities at the Ministry of Justice and, in particular, prisons.

In 1993 the prison population was 44,000.  Fifteen years later, it was about 84,000.  It has remained at roughly that level for the subsequent period.

It is worth pointing out that the reason the prison population has increased in the way that it has is largely because of longer prison sentences, particularly for serious offences.  I am, therefore, sceptical that we will return to a prison population of 44,000 in the foreseeable future.

But we do need to think more creatively about sanctions in our criminal justice system.  There are too many people behind bars who are petty offenders with mental health problems and drugs issues.  The short period in prison tends to do damage to their family relationships, employment chances and housing situation.  As a consequence, they leave prison more likely to reoffend.

I want to bring down crime.  Too much crime is committed by petty, persistent lawbreakers.  But a short prison sentence won’t help.  Instead, we need effective community sentences.

For those in prison, the vast majority will be released at some point.  Their time in prison should be focussed on turning their lives round and reducing their chances of reoffending.  That’s why I have made it a priority to focus on education and employment opportunities for offenders.

This work doesn’t attract the headlines like Brexit, but it is worthwhile nonetheless.


David holds regular surgeries at various places in the constituency, including Rickmansworth, South Oxhey, Berkhamsted and Tring. 

Call 01923 771781 to make an appointment.

Record of surgeries


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