Justice minister faces quizzing by MPs over prisons safety crisis plans

A justice minister will be quizzed about the Government's plans to address the prisons safety crisis on Tuesday. 

Sam Gyimah will be questioned by MPs alongside Michael Spurr, the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

Their appearance before the Commons Justice Committee comes at a time of intense scrutiny of jails in England and Wales.

Earlier this month, thousands of officers stopped working in protest over soaring levels of violence and self-harm behind bars.

The Government has unveiled a wide-ranging blueprint for prison reform, including an additional 2,500 staff and measures to stop drones dropping drugs into jails and to block the illegal use of mobile phones.

Tory MP Bob Neill, chairman of the committee, said: "Prison reform is urgent.

"The mounting crisis in prison safety, the suicide rate, overcrowding, staff shortages, a more violent culture, the lack of education and training opportunities all show that the current approach fails in multiple ways.

"The Government's reform plans have been described as the biggest overhaul of our prisons in a generation.

"In this major new inquiry we will ensure that they are given rigorous scrutiny, to ensure that every opportunity is taken to transform failure into success."

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