Some of what’s inside the May edition…..
SEX PEST COP JAILED
HUHNE & PRYCE FREED ON HDC
LEGAL HELP WITH ADJUDICATIONS – SWAIN & CO
TOP COP QUITS ON THE QT
DRUG-DEALING COP JAILED
MET COPS ACCUSED OF UNDERWORLD CONSPIRACY
STORY 4 CASH COP JAILED
COPS CLEARED OVER DEATH
1 PUMP COURT BARRISTERS ON LEGAL AID CUTS
SAVILLE: THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
MACKESYS 24HR CRIMINAL LAWYERS – ARE YOU DUE FOR RELEASE?
CASH POINT GANG NET £29m IN HOURS
SHRIEN DEWANI – FULL EXTRADITION NEARS
HMRC PRESS OFFICER TO BE CHARGED
SALFORD PRISON VAN ESCAPE
CORRUPT HMP WAKEFIELD OFFICERS LOSE THEIR APPEALS
COPS CRITICISED OVER DEATH PLUNGE
ALLEGED CORRUPT WPC IN COURT
THE BITTEN BUM THAT COULD BE A PAIN IN THE ARSE
CONSCRIPT – READERS LETTERS: BANNING PRISONERS FROM LEGAL AID
COPS SLAMMED FOR EXCESSIVE FORCE
CONQUEST – READERS LEGAL LETTERS ANSWERED BY WELLS BURCOMBE SOLICITORS
MURDER SENTENCE GUIDELINES ‘TOO RESTRICTIVE’
FACING THE MUSIC
HAZELL: MOTHER JUST WANTS ANSWERS
CUT THUMB COP GETS £5000
PRISON OFFICER ‘HEARD NO COMPLAINT’ FROM DEAD INMATE
POLICE IN NW £3.8m DRUGS BUST
LAWRENCES SOLICITORS – ONLY A FOOL REPRESENTS THEMSELVES
PRISON IN LOCK DOWN AFTER GANG VIOLENCE
PRISON OFFICER ARRESTED
THE PRISONS HANDBOOK 2013 – THE DEFINITIVE 1,200 PAGE ANNUAL GUIDE TO THE PRISON SYSTEM
POLICE FORCE PAYS OUT £550,000 IN COMPENSATION – JUST FOR STARTERS
INDIAN ACTOR SANJAY DUTTA SURRENDERS TO JAIL
RAPE ACCUSED DESERVE ANONYMITY
UNDULY LENIENT SENTENCES INCREASED
HESLING HENRIQUES WIN RECORD PAYOUT FOR INJURED PRISONER
MUSLIM PEER RESIGNS DAY BEFORE HEARING
DON’T ROT ON RECALL – FARADAYS SOLICITORS
HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE – £4.5m WINE FRAUD
KYLES LEGAL PRACTICE – FAMILY LAW FOR PRISONERS
ONEILL MORGAN SOLICITORS – PRISON PERSONAL INJURY SPECIALISTS
COP ANONYMITY PLEA REJECTED
SPOTLIGHT ON HMP THAMESIDE
1000+ COPS IN DAWN RAID
A senior judge has said the current sentencing tariff system “works against” the interests of those who would like to see “really long” jail sentences imposed for murder– but critics say he should ‘button his judicial lip’.
Judge William Davis QC, a senior circuit judge at Birmingham Crown Court, made the comments at the Police Federation conference after the Home Secretary announced plans to enforce “whole life” sentences for cop killers.
Asked if he thought the proposal could work, Judge Davis, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “Speaking purely personally here, not on behalf of Sentencing Council, the problem with the current tariff system for murder is its rigidity.
“It sometimes works against the interests of those who would like to see really long sentences.”
Judge Davis alluded to the case of American David Bieber, who murdered Pc Ian Broadhurst and attempted to murder Pcs Neil Roper and James Banks in 2003 in Leeds.
He said the judge wanted to give Bieber a whole life tariff but this was ultimately denied by the Court of Appeal and his term was set at a minimum of 37 years.
He said: “If there was a degree of judicial independence and discretion one could well imagine that a judge would say for doing what that man did, that’s his whole life.
“As a judge I would prefer a degree of flexibility, which currently there isn’t, particularly in relation to tariffs for murder.”
There have been 12 direct killings of police officers in the course of duty since 2000 – including the murder of Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes by one-eyed Dale Cregan in Greater Manchester last year.
Another high profile case where a police officer died was that of Ian Dibell, an off-duty officer who was shot as he tried to stop a gunman.
Steve Williams, chair of the Police Federation, said: “The public need to have confidence that the criminal sentence they read about in the paper is the sentence the offender completes.
“There is no hierarchy when it comes to victims of murder, however police officers risk their lives on a daily basis confronting danger on behalf of others.
“Would-be offenders must know that they will receive the most severe penalty possible.
“In the names of Fiona Bone, Nicola Hughes and Ian Dibell – three police officers murdered in the last year alone – we support any move that means a true life sentence will be applied to anyone who murders a police officer.’”
David Hanson, shadow policing minister, said: “As the Shadow Home Secretary said last year, the killing of a police officer is a particularly heinous crime that should be punished with the severest possible sentences. We will support any efforts to achieve that aim.”
However, Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners said the calls for more judicial discretion in sentencing was a backward step.
Mr Leech said “Giving Judges more discretion about sentencing is a backward step, it would turn back the sentencing clock 20 years.
“Let’s not forget the reason why we have sentencing guidelines, and a Council to devise them of which Judge William Davis QC is a member, is because history showed that when judges had no guidelines sentences were a lottery, dependent on the prejudices and politics of the sentencing judge.
“If Judge Davis believes the current guidelines on murder are too rigid then as a member of the Sentencing Council he is better placed than many judges to argue for those guidelines to be changed – until he can do that he should either resign from the Council or, in public, button his judicial lip.”
Former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife were both freed from prison today after serving around a quarter of their eight-month sentences for swapping speeding points.
Huhne, a former energy secretary and once-aspiring Liberal Democrat leader, left Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire by the main entrance in the back seat of a silver Honda, making no attempt to avoid waiting media cameras.
His ex-wife, economist Vicky Pryce, earlier emerged from East Sutton Park Prison near Maidstone, Kent, via a back exit and left with her solicitor Robert Brown, pursued by press photographers who been camped outside the Category D open jail for women and young offenders.
Huhne will return to the London home he shares with PR adviser Carina Trimingham.
The former Eastleigh MP left Pryce in 2010 as his affair with Ms Trimingham was about to be exposed, ending his 26-year marriage to Pryce and leading her to reveal the speeding points swap to newspapers in a bid to “nail” him.
Pryce is expected to return to her home in Clapham, south London.
The former couple were each handed eight-month prison sentences on March 11 for perverting the course of justice a decade ago when Pryce took speeding points for her then husband.
Huhne finally pleaded guilty to the offence on the first day of their trial in February after months of staunch denials and several attempts to get the case thrown out, while Pryce was later convicted by a jury after a retrial at Southwark Crown Court when her defence of marital coercion failed.
Both will now have to wear electronic tags, used to enforce either a timed curfew or a place of residence, as a condition of their early release.
For sentences of less than a year, an offender is automatically released after serving half of their sentence.
In addition, offenders serving sentences of between three months and four years, with certain exceptions for violent and sexual offenders, may also be eligible for release on a home detention curfew (HDC).
This allows an offender to be released up to 135 days before their automatic release date.
The family of a murdered prison officer who was widely believed to have been killed by the IRA has held a meeting with Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams.
Brian Stack, who was Chief Prison Officer at Portlaoise Prison in the Irish Republic, was shot in Dublin in 1983. He died 18 months later.
The IRA never claimed responsibility for the murder, but his family believe he was targeted because of his job.
His son, Austin Stack, described the meeting as very productive and genuine.
Two of the murdered officer’s sons met Mr Adams at the Irish houses of parliament in Dublin on Thursday evening.
Speaking after the meeting, Austin Stack told the Irish state broadcaster RTE that no promises has been made, but that the Sinn Fein president had agreed to help them as best he could.
Mr Stack added that his family felt the offer was genuine and said they are due to meet Mr Adams again in about four weeks.
His father was shot in the back of the neck as he walked along Dublin’s South Circular Road shortly after leaving a boxing tournament.
He was the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland during the Troubles.
The man who carried out the shooting escaped on a motorbike, driven by an accomplice.
The prison officer was left brain damaged and paralysed from the neck down by the shooting and died from his injuries.
Austin Stack, the eldest of his three children, was 14 at the time of the shooting and is now the assistant governor of Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.
He said he believes the IRA carried out the attack because his father thwarted a number attempts by members of the paramilitary group to escape from Portlaoise Prison and to smuggle weapons into the high security jail.
Mr Stack has said he wants the IRA to admit responsibility for his father’s murder and his family want answers and closure from their discussions with the Sinn Fein president.
They have asked Mr Adams to speak to his contacts about the killing in the hope they can find out who carried it out and why.
“We’re not looking for any form of revenge. We would like to sit down with those people, talk to them and get some form of responsibility.”
Mr Adams, who stepped down as MP for West Belfast to become a member of the Irish parliament two years ago, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.
Speaking after the meeting, the Sinn Fein president told RTE it had been a “good” and “comprehensive discussion”.
“There are many families who are looking for closure. It may be that I won’t be able to help but I certainly have the desire to be of assistance,” Mr Adams said.
He added: “We have each agreed to go off and reflect on what was said. And we have agreed to meet again.”
A worldwide gang of criminals stole £29 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of pre-paid debit cards then draining cash machines around the world, US prosecutors said.
Seven people are under arrest in the US in connection with the case, which prosecutors said involved thousands of thefts from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards carrying information from Middle Eastern banks.
The fraudsters moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world, working in cells including one in New York, Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch said.
She called it “a massive 21st-century bank heist” carried out by brazen thieves.
One of the suspects was caught on surveillance cameras, his backpack increasingly loaded down with cash, authorities said. Others took photos of themselves with giant wads of notes as they made their way up and down Manhattan.
Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data on to any plastic card with a magnetic stripe – an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes.
A network of operatives then fanned out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities, authorities said. The cells would take a cut of the money, then launder it through expensive purchases or ship it wholesale to the global ringleaders. Ms Lynch did not say where they were located.
It appears no individuals lost money. The thieves plundered funds held by the banks that back up prepaid credit cards, not individual or business accounts, Ms Lynch said.
She called it a “virtual criminal flash mob” and a security analyst said it was the biggest ATM fraud case she had heard of.
There were two separate attacks, one in December that reaped £3.2 million worldwide and one in February that snared about £26 million in 10 hours with about 36,000 transactions. The scheme involved attacks on two banks, Rakbank in the United Arab Emirates and the Bank of Muscat in Oman, prosecutors said.
The plundered ATMs were in Japan, Russia, Romania, Egypt, Colombia, Britain, Sri Lanka, Canada and several other countries, and law enforcement agencies from more than a dozen nations were involved in the investigation, US prosecutors said.
The accused ringleader in the US cell, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, was reportedly killed in the Dominican Republic late last month, prosecutors said. More investigations continue and other arrests have been made in other countries.
An indictment unsealed yesterday accused Lajud-Pena and the other seven New York suspects of withdrawing £1.8 million in cash from hacked accounts in less than a day.
Such ATM fraud schemes are not uncommon, but the £29 million stolen in this one was at least double the amount involved in previously known cases, said Avivah Litan, an analyst who covers security issues for Gartner.
Middle Eastern banks and payment processors are “a bit behind” on security and screening technologies that are supposed to prevent this kind of fraud, but it happens around the world, she said.
“It’s a really easy way to turn digits into cash,” Ms Litan said.
Some of the fault lies with the ubiquitous magnetic strips on the back of the cards. The rest of the world has largely abandoned cards with magnetic strips in favour of ones with built-in chips that are nearly impossible to copy. But because US banks and merchants have stuck to cards with magnetic strips, they are still accepted around the world.
Ms Lynch would not say who masterminded the attacks globally, who the hackers are or where they were located, citing an ongoing investigation.
The New York suspects were US citizens originally from the Dominican Republic, lived in the New York City suburb orf Yonkers and were mostly in their 20s. Ms Lynch said they all knew one another and were recruited together, as were cells in other countries. They were charged with conspiracy and money laundering. If convicted, they face 10 years in prison.
Arrests began in March. Lajud-Pena was found dead with a suitcase full of about 100,000 dollars in cash, and the investigation into his death is continuing separately. Dominican officials said they arrested a man in the killing who said it was a botched robbery, and two other suspects were on the run.
MPs have repaid nearly £390,000 in profits judged to have been made on taxpayer-funded homes, says Ipsa, Parliament’s expenses watchdog.
The highest amount paid was £81,446 by Conservative David Jones, one of 71 MPs who continued to claim towards mortgage interest payments from 2010 until 2012.
They had to repay a share of any capital gain and most have now done so.
But Tory Stewart Jackson(above) says Ipsa is bullying him by taking legal action to get him to pay £54,000 it says he owes.
All MPs used to be able to claim expenses towards the cost of mortgage interest payments on their “second homes”.
But changes introduced in 2010, following the expenses scandal, stopped the practice for all new MPs. Most now rent properties or stay in temporary accommodation like hotels if they need a base in London.
MPs who had already bought properties under the old system were allowed to continue to claim mortgage interest payments until August 2012 – as long as they agreed to repay a share of any profit made over that period, even if they chose not to sell.
Properties were valued by a surveyor in 2010 and again in 2012 – and the amount MPs had to repay depended on how much they had claimed, and how much the property’s value had risen by.
Mr Jackson, who claimed £32,494 over the two years, has been told to repay £54,000 based on valuations of his home in Peterborough.
Ipsa says it has filed a claim at the High Court to recoup the money.
But Mr Jackson says the watchdog’s actions are “heavy handed and disproportionate and are clearly intended to bully me into submission”.
He disputes valuations of his property done in 2010 and 2012 and says they assume his property rose by almost 20% in value, while others in his constituency fell by 3% over the same period. He still lives in the house and points out that he is being asked to repay more than he claimed.
“IPSA have negotiated with 70 other MPs in a secretive and arbitrary manner but in respect of my case, regrettably, they have refused to negotiate. I am merely seeking fair play and consistency and will pursue legal action to receive it.”
In total, the 71 MPs claimed £926,159 of public money to cover mortgage interest over the 15-month period. Twenty nine of them were told to repay a total of £484,828 – of which nearly £390,000 has been repaid so far.
The largest claims were made by Labour’s Michael Connarty – who received £34,168 and has repaid £6,833 – and Mr Jackson.
But 42 of the 71 MPs have not had to repay anything, as their properties fell in value over the period.
Among those repaying the most are Mr Jones, Conservative MP for Clwyd West, who claimed £18,060 in expenses but due to rising value of his London property has had to repay £81,446.
The DUP’s Gregory Campbell, who claimed £16,755 towards a London property he still owns, has repaid £61,403. Conservative Philip Hammond repaid £34,610 – more than the £20,967 he claimed and DUP MP David Simpson paid back £30, 308 having claimed £11,208.
Some are still repaying money, such as Conservative David Willetts and Labour’s John Denham, who have not sold their properties, and Lib Dem Andrew George.
An Ipsa spokesman said: “One of the most damaging aspects of the expenses scandal was the practice where MPs got taxpayer support to own a second home. That is why we said we would stop this, and we have now done so.
“The final stage in bringing this to an end was our allowing a short transition period for MPs who were already committed to second mortgages.
“But in doing this we set the condition that the taxpayer would want its share of any increase in the value of the property. Today we are publishing that these capital gains are worth almost £500,000 to the taxpayer.
“MPs knew this was the deal and agreed to the conditions at the start.
“In valuing the property, it was important that we didn’t rely on amateur valuations or guesses from the web.
“Instead, we demanded formal valuations at the start and end, from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – the most authoritative voice in this field.
“We would only accept valuations from RICS members or fellows – providing proper assurance on the value of the properties.
“We required all MPs to provide these independent valuations at the start and end of the claim period. And we published the way in which the capital gain would be calculated. The same method of calculation has been applied to all 71 cases.
“Stewart Jackson provided us with two RICS valuations. As he has been unwilling to pay the £54,000 due we have issued proceedings to recover the sum through the High Court.”
A police officer who cut her thumb while dismantling a cannabis factory is to keep her damages award of nearly £5,000.
Kerry Ann Taylor (above) was injured while disposing of the plants and equipment at a house in Southsea, Hampshire, in September 2008.
It was hot with poor ventilation and, because she felt nauseous from the smell of the cannabis, she decided to open a window.
Not noticing it had been sealed, Pc Taylor, who was wearing latex gloves to protect against skin irritation, pushed at the glass which broke and her right hand went through.
The officer sued Hampshire Police and a judge at Winchester County Court found in her favour.
He ruled that the police were in breach of their duty under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 in failing to provide Pc Taylor with thick gloves to protect against sharp edges, and said that had she been wearing them, the injury probably would not have occurred.
At the Court of Appeal in London today, two judges dismissed Hampshire Police’s appeal against the finding on liability.
Lord Justice Elias said that there was an obligation to provide thick gloves at the time to protect against the risk of injury as the operation could involve her carrying out a whole range of tasks, not just removing the plants.
A senior detective whose chief constable husband was fired has resigned from the force ahead of a disciplinary hearing.
Detective Chief Inspector Heather Eastwood was alleged to have failed to have informed her superiors at Cleveland Police that she had been arrested following an incident at a railway station.
She is married to Sean Price, who in October became the first chief constable in 35 years to be sacked.
A disciplinary hearing found he was guilty of gross misconduct, having lied about his role in the recruitment of the former police authority chairman’s daughter.
Ms Eastwood was due to have faced disciplinary proceedings this week which will not go ahead now as she has resigned.
The allegation was that she did not inform superiors that she had been arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in 2011.
She was arrested at Northallerton railway station in North Yorkshire but, after questioning, no further action was taken.
When the alleged incident later came to light, the Independent Police Complaints Commission was informed and the detective was suspended.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a chief inspector who was due to face a misconduct hearing has now resigned from the force.
“As the individual is no longer a serving police officer they are no longer subject to disciplinary proceedings.”
The force could not say how this may affect her pension.
She was reported to be 41 and has recently had a child with Mr Price, who is 55.
Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said the practice of allowing police officers to quit on the quiet, instead of facing disciplinary charges brought against them, was fundamentally wrong.
Mr Leech said: “Figures released 18 months ago showed that in the previous two years almost 500 police officers had quit on the quiet rather than face disciplinary hearings, they each left with their character intact and their pensions untouched – one of whom was Simon Harwood who was later re-employed by the same police force who was not fully aware of his previous escape from a disciplinary hearing by resigning; this is the same man who was then later involved in the death of Ian Tomlinson.
“Thus obnoxious practice should cease.”
A former police sergeant has been jailed for 10 months for trying to sell a story about celebrity Katie Price’s daughter to the News of the World.
James Bowes contacted the now defunct Sunday tabloid newspaper and told a journalist that police child protection officers had gone to the home of Price’s former husband Peter Andre in Brighton.
This followed a report that the couple’s daughter, Princess Tiaamii, then aged two, had been injured in 2010, the Old Bailey heard.
The team found no untoward injuries to the child and the matter was not taken further, the court was told.
But Bowes, who worked for in Brighton for Sussex Police, emailed the newspaper asking for money for the information.
The story was printed with information from another source and Bowes was never paid.
Bowes, 30, from Steyning, West Sussex, pleaded guilty last month to misconduct in public office.
The court heard that he passed information to the Sun newspaper about a child who was bitten by a fox and was paid £500.
And he passed on details of a psychic who had contacted police about a search for bodies in two former Brighton homes in 2010 of serial killer Peter Tobin, but was not paid.
Bowes was charged by officers from Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police investigation into police corruption.
Mr Justice Fulford told Bowes: “You have made available to the press confidential information concerning children.
“Your explanation is that it was a foolish attempt by you to be in some part associated with notorious or high-profile cases.”
Bowes had abused his position of trust and undermined the relationship the police had with the public.
Stephen Wedd, defending, said Bowes had now given £500 to the Crimestoppers charity, and had been dismissed by Sussex Police.
Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the court that Bowes had access to the police computer to get information about the three reports in 2010.
Andre and Price had separated and there was a report of injuries to the couple’s daughter.
“The child protection team established no untoward injuries,” said Mr Bryant-Heron.
The following day Bowes emailed the News of the World news desk but was told that the newspaper already had the information.
“Clearly, the News of the World had access to other sources for information,” he added.
Bowes had emailed the Sun after a fox attacked a child at a birthday party and was paid after providing the contact details of the parents.
The father told the court he had to move his family away from their home until the fuss died down after the story was printed.
He also contacted the newspaper about the psychic who was later contacted by a journalist.
No story was published and Bowes was not paid, but the psychic said she had lost confidence in the police.
Mr Bryant-Heron told the court the child protection team “established very quickly that there were no bruises or injuries” to Tiaamii.
He said: “Peter Andre has made a statement saying he was hurt and embarrassed by the story.”
The Coalition is sacking probation officers and paying former prisoners to take their place, Labour claimed today.
Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter questioned the costs and merits of the Government’s new prisoner rehabilitation plans.
Outlining the proposals in the Commons, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the new policy would mean lower reoffending rates by ensuring prisoners were properly managed when they left jail by “for the first time creating continuity between custody and community”.
But Mr Slaughter said: “It’s not probation officers who will now undertake 70% of supervision – you place a great deal of faith in reformed old lags helping out but you admitted on the Today programme these will have to be paid.
“So, professional probation officers sacked and replaced by ex-offenders. Is this your brave new world?”
Mr Slaughter said it was “disappointing” it had taken the coalition “three wasted years” to reach the conclusion on the need to cut reoffending.
He said Labour in government made some progress on cutting reoffending and said Mr Grayling’s plans were “ambitious”.
“Unfortunately, it’s a programme based on fewer resources, untried and untested methods, and putting faith in exactly those private sector organisations that have failed to deliver other major public sector contracts,” he said.
Mr Slaughter asked if there would be more money available or if existing resources would be spread more thinly, and he questioned the cost of reorganising the prison system to create the Government’s proposed “resettlement prisons”.
The shadow minister said: “You know the prison estate is chronically overcrowded and understaffed, so do you seriously think a reorganisation can take place against such a backdrop?”
Mr Slaughter questioned whether ex-offenders would get priority for social housing during “the worst housing shortage for a generation”.
He added: “Reducing reoffending while maintaining public safety should be our twin priorities.
“A focus on reoffending is to be welcomed but the Government’s ill thought-out policies and total reliance on payment by results are putting the safety of communities up and down the country at risk.”
The changes will mean every offender leaving prison must serve a minimum of 12 months under supervision in the community.
Mr Grayling said all offenders who enter prison, even for just a few days, will be subject to new supervision and will be given support through housing, employment, training and substance abuse programmes.
The reforms, to be rolled out across England and Wales by 2015, will see around 65,000 offenders serving sentences of up to two years receive extended rehabilitation.
Responding to Mr Slaughter in the Commons, Mr Grayling said: “I don’t understand why you are coming up with this faux anger about what we are doing when the legislative foundations that enable us to push through these reforms were passed by the last Labour government.
“If they supported this concept then, why do they not support it now?”
He defended the plans to use former prisoners after it was demonstrated as effective in test schemes.
Mr Grayling said: “You need to go and look, not in the world of big business but in the voluntary sector, where some of our first-rate charities have got living examples today of former offenders who have gone straight and are now helping turn the lives around of a next generation of offenders.
“I want to capture those skills in helping bring down reoffending.”
The Justice Secretary said the coalition did not believe all problems would be solved by “throwing money” at them.
“Are we actually saying it is not possible to run the system more efficiently and deliver support where it is needed to the offenders most likely to reoffend when they leave prison?” he said.
“Again, the divide between us and them. They think it is just a question of spending more taxpayers’ money, higher taxes. We want to get better value for the taxes we already raise.”
Mr Grayling said the resettlement prisons would make the prison estate work better and stop the need for prisoners to be moved across the country.
He said the plans had been worked up in conjunction with governors and other experts.
He told MPs: “Short sentence offenders will almost always stay in one place and longer sentence offenders will come to a prison close to where they are going to be released so when they are released we can provide continuity of support through the prison gate.
“It’s the right thing to do, it should have been done years ago.”
Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said it was little more than a charade.
“I passionately believe that successful ex-offenders have a role to play in helping others reform, but its a charade to think they can replace skilled and qualified probation officers.
“When the reoffending figures rise or refuse to fall what is the next big idea to be – handcuffing offenders to police officers perhaps?
“This Justice Secretary says he wants to get drugs off the streets – well it might be an idea if he first managed to keep them out of jails.”
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said breaking the cycle of crime means breaking the dependency on drugs.
The Labour MP said: “Can I ask him (Mr Grayling) to be very careful about choosing providers on drugs rehabilitation, like G4S, who may have expertise in tagging, and they are obviously very good at that; however, they don’t have the expertise as far as rehabilitation on drugs is concerned.”
Mr Grayling replied that the Government has to be “absolutely certain” that the organisations it recruits have got the necessary expertise.
“I have no intention whatever of contracting with organisations that cannot demonstrate that they have got real and genuine expertise in delivering the solutions we need, I give him that reassurance.”
Barrister Sir Edward Garnier (Harborough, Oadby and Wigston) also urged the minister to ensure that small groups, such as charities and individuals, had a chance alongside bigger contractors to “carry people from prison out into the community” so there is no gap between incarceration and going out into society.
He added that he wants reassurances that people in prison will leave jail being able to read, with the average inmate currently having the reading age of an 11-year-old.
Sir Edward said: “You cannot get a job if you cannot read.”
Mr Grayling said one of the elements of the new contracts will be to put together resettlement services in prisons and support out of prisons to create a “genuinely joined-up service”.
He added that there were examples of older, more experienced offenders who have gone through the prison system helping younger inmates.
Mr Grayling said he wants to see prisoners who can read teaching those who cannot.
Conservative Philip Davies (Shipley) questioned what weight is being put on longer prisonsentences as figures suggest these reduce rates of re-offending.
He said: “The figures from his department are perfectly clear that the longer people spend in prison the less likely they are to re-offend, largely because it gives them the time to do things like teach people to read whilst they are in prison before they are released.”
Mr Grayling said the length of time people had been spending in prison was increasing and he agreed they needed to take the opportunity to turn around the lives of people in jail.
But he added: “Those who are today saying short sentences don’t work, they shouldn’t happen, they always miss the point that 80% of people that arrive in our prisons have already been through a community sentence and it hasn’t worked.”
Concerns were raised in the Commons by Labour MPs about the opportunities for public sector organisations to bid for payment by results contracts.
Earlier in the questions, shadow minister for public health Diane Abbott, said: “How can it be a good thing to exclude some of the people with the most expertise and professional training in these matters?”
Mr Grayling said it was not correct to suggest the public sector would miss out and probation staff are being actively encouraged and supported to form their own mutual organisations to bid for contracts.