Boris Johnson will order a crackdown on prison discipline, sex offences and drug use next month under plans to reassure the public that he is focused on tackling crime.
The Prime Minister will unveil a major law and order package as part of efforts to get back to bread-and-butter politics after weeks of turmoil triggered by U-turns and rows about sleaze.
The Government’s white paper on prisons will focus on improving discipline in jails.
Prison governors will be given powers to hand out fast-track punishments to convicts guilty of low level offences.
The Prime Minister will unveil a major law and order package as part of efforts to get back to bread-and-butter politics after weeks of turmoil triggered by U-turns and rows about sleaze
And under the ‘zero-tolerance’ approach, prisoners who trash their cells will be forced to repair the damage they have caused. Measures will also be taken to cut off the supply of drugs to jails.
Separately, the PM will also order a wider crackdown on drug use in society.
Sources said Mr Johnson also wants to see better protection for victims in the criminal justice system.
And there will be new efforts to drive up prosecution rates for rape and sexual assaults, which remain shockingly low.
The PM is expected to unveil a change in the law to ensure rape victims have the automatic right to give evidence by video link to avoid the trauma of having to face their tormentor in court.
The move follows a report by the Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird who found that allowing rape victims to pre-record their evidence would avoid the distress of having to come face-to-face with their perpetrators.
The law and order package is part of a wider plan to restore the Government’s fortunes after allegations of sleaze and damaging U-turns
Details of the crime package are still being finalised. But Whitehall sources said Mr Johnson was determined to improve discipline in prisons in order to boost rehabilitation rates.
A source said ministers wanted to improve the situation which currently results in 80 per cent of crimes being committed by former offenders.
The prisons white paper will include a major focus on tackling low level offences in jails and using jail time to boost the skills of offenders.
Under current disciplinary rules, dealing with even minor offences in prison can take months. A Whitehall source said that the whole system is ‘too slow and clunky’, adding: ‘We want governors to be empowered to hand out new penalties which support prisoners in their rehabilitation.’
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is also expected to use the white paper to set out measures to help offenders find a job when they leave prison. Currently, just one in seven jail-leavers find a job within six months.
The law and order package is part of a wider plan to restore the Government’s fortunes after allegations of sleaze and damaging U-turns.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove will also unveil the ‘levelling up’ white paper next month, which will put flesh on the bones of the PM’s pledge to spread opportunity more evenly across the country.
A Government source said: ‘It’s been a difficult couple of weeks but the PM has remained focused on the Government’s priorities and we have important stuff coming up before the end of the year.’