- David Cameron will announce major drive to cut number of reoffenders
- Current prison population is a near-record 86,000
- Some advisers fear it could hit 100,000 by the end of the decade
- Justice Secretary Gove is looking at more flexible sentencing regime
David Cameron will tomorrow announce a major Government drive to cut the number of offenders who return to jail shortly after release, as experts warn that a rocketing prison population is creating '18th Century conditions'.
The Prime Minister wants to boost rehabilitation schemes and education programmes within jails to shift stubbornly high reoffending rates. Currently, almost 60 per cent of prisoners released after sentences of less than 12 months go back to crime within a year.
But Tory MP Philip Davies, a member of the Commons' Justice Select Committee, said he hoped the Prime Minister was not going to come out with 'trite nonsense' in his speech as an excuse for sparing serious offenders from long sentences.
The Prime Minister wants to boost rehabilitation schemes and education programmes within jails to shift stubbornly high reoffending rate
'No one could seriously object to people being rehabilitated, as long as it isn't a fig leaf for prisoners being let out early or not going to prison in the first place,' Mr Davies said.
'I hope that he isn't going to come out with a load of trite nonsense designed to dress up measures which will expose the public to risk.'
Mr Cameron's planned speech is the latest in a string of initiatives he has made since the New Year brandishing his social reform credentials, including backing 'tiger mum' parenting, calling for Muslim women to learn English and criticising Oxbridge for not accepting more black students.
The current prison population is a near-record 86,000 and some advisers fear it could hit 100,000 by the end of the decade. Each prisoner costs the taxpayer £30,000 a year to keep in a cell – a bill the Treasury is keen to trim.