On how prisons should be reformed, Robin is likewise clear – the government must recognize both the criminal justice and prison systems are "fundamentally broken," and "just do not work."
"Trials simply aren't fair, and the level of criminalization is mind-boggling, with more and more social actions likely to result in imprisonment. The adversarial court system is absurd and utterly childish, it needs to be stopped and something new put in its place," Robin told Sputnik.
As part of this comprehensive reform program, dangerous criminals should be placed into "therapeutic communities," and prisons should cease being "containers for social problems governments don't want to deal with," such as mental health issues, drug addiction, poverty, homelessness and abuse, which the vast majority of prisoners are afflicted by in some way, Robin claims. In the short-term, there should be more focus on employment, therapy, and decent work – showing prisoners there can be alternatives, and a good life on the outside, is "paramount."
"At the very least, prisons should be reduced in size. Every governor, prison officer, prison monitor I've spoken to, and even the prison inspectorate, all state very clearly smaller prisons are better for everyone – yet the government has embarked upon a project of building 'titan' or 'super prisons', so policy is going the direct opposite way of what we know to work. They've ignored the advice of people who know, in order to follow the US system, which we know to be an abject failure," Robin ruefully concludes.
Robin's suggestions for transitory reform are largely echoed by Faith, who notes some prisons she has visited had "excellent initiatives" of that ilk in place.
"For example, I went to two motivational events for inmates at Thameside prison, first with a former prisoner turned author and Eastenders actor, then Sir Lenny Henry. I also spent a day at HMP Oakwood, observing the Chrysalis Programme designed to provide a guide for change beyond rehabilitation, and into engagement and reintegration, aiming to stimulate inmates thinking, attitude, social capability, and capacity," Faith told Sputnik.