Mike Williams the CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform spoke at The Act Party conference yesterday. As an ex-president of the Labour party and also their past campaign manager of four elections, I didn’t expect him to share any common ground with a party like Act. After all one of Act’s flagship policies was the three strikes legislation which is all about the stick and deterrence.
Mike Williams or Fat Tony as Cam has always affectionately called him, made a strong case for the power of volunteering where the cost to the taxpayer is zero. More to the point he illustrated examples where the cost of removing barriers was insignificant compared to the savings to the taxpayer when an offender was removed from both the justice system and the benefits system.
The barriers he mentioned were: