David Shipley

David Shipley is a former prisoner who writes, speaks and researches on prison and justice issues.

Max Jeffery, David Shipley, Patrick Kidd, Cindy Yu, and Hugh Thomson

33 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Max Jeffery interviews Afghan resistance leader Ahmad Massoud (1:13); former prisoner David Shipley ponders the power of restorative justice (8:23); Patrick Kidd argues that the Church should do more to encourage volunteers (14:15); Cindy Yu asks if the tiger mother is an endangered species (21:06); and, Hugh Thomson reviews Mick

The criminal justice system is on the brink of collapse

When a vast, complex system fails it first does so slowly, and then all at once. I fear that the justice system in England and Wales is about to collapse. The prisons are effectively full. An average of 1,362 more people are imprisoned each week. What will happen when there’s no room for them? Last

The power of restorative justice

In a week when the Chief Inspector of Prisons published an Urgent Notification detailing the horrors of HMP Wandsworth, I found myself revisiting memories of being jailed there for the crime of fraud. Clanging doors, rattling chains, men screaming at night in anguish or despair or because their cellmate was assaulting them. No help coming.

Releasing prisoners early is a mistake

Some prisoners will be freed up to 70 days early to ease overcrowding in jails. This isn’t the first time the government has resorted to letting prisoners go before the end of their sentence: Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, announced in March that prisoners would be released up to 60 days early. This followed a

We’re all paying the price for our rotten prisons

What happens when government policy meets an entirely unfit system? Today’s report on HMP Peterborough by HM Inspector of Prisons reveals a jail unable to handle the government’s early release scheme. Last October, in an effort to stop our prisons running out of room, Alex Chalk announced the End of Custody Supervised Licence scheme, under

Drugs are costing the lives of too many prisoners

In prison, drugs kill. HMP Parc, a private prison in Wales managed by G4S, has seen six inmate deaths over a period of three weeks. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO), the official body tasked with investigating deaths in prisons, soon realised that ‘at least’ two of those deaths were drug-related. Imprisoned at HMP Wandsworth,

Does Britain need new laws to tackle extremism?

21 min listen

Michael Gove is expected to announce a tougher definition of extremism in response to a rise in radical ideology, since the Israel-Gaza war. Are new laws really needed? Or could the current laws, if enforced properly, be the best way to tackle a decline in social cohesion? Natasha Feroze speaks to David Shipley, a film

Why Britain’s prison guards are losing control

Prisons are terrifying places when guards lose control. The authorities retreat and angry prisoners are left in charge – until the cavalry arrives. That comes in the form of the National Tactical Response Group (NTRG), which resolves hostage situations, work ‘at height’ when prisoners have scaled buildings or refuse to leave safety netting on the wings

Why do we send the wrong people to prison?

In prison, I met a lot of men who said they shouldn’t be there. They presented detailed mitigations, and listed all the flaws in the prosecution’s evidence. The truth is though, that most of us had been sentenced for crimes we’d committed. There were very few men inside who shouldn’t have been there. Mark, though,

How I found the true meaning of Christmas in prison

What do prisoners eat on Christmas Day? Some tabloid reports might lead you to think ‘lags’ are ‘gorging’ themselves on turkey with all the trimmings. Even the official prison menus from the Ministry of Justice make lunch on 25 December sound appetising: inmates at HMP Manchester, a high-security jail, get ‘Traditional Turkey Dinner with stuffing,

What will fix Britain’s prisons?

19 min listen

HMP Bedford was issued with an urgent notification yesterday, meaning it must immediately make reforms to improve. It’s the fifth prison to receive such a notification this year. What’s going wrong in Britain’s prisons, and what will fix them? Max Jeffery speaks to former prison governor Ian Acheson and former prisoner David Shipley.

Alex Chalk has bought the prison service a little time – that’s all

In his House of Commons speech yesterday, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk shifted the blame for problems with our prison system, announced liberalising reforms and promised a bright future. Ultimately though he’s only bought a little time.  Chalk began by reaffirming the government’s commitment to public protection. In a significant shift rapists will

No wonder Britain’s prisons are almost full

It’s finally happened. Our prisons are almost full. Last night the Times reported that ‘Lord Justice Edis, the senior presiding judge for England and Wales, has ordered that sentencing of convicted criminals who are currently on bail should be delayed from Monday’. Prisons in England and Wales are now unable to find cell space for

Overseas prisons will be disastrous for British inmates

Our prisons are overcrowded, dangerous and out of control. The prison population is rising faster than we can build new cells. Prisoners spend far too much time in their cells, developing mental health problems instead of skills. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice announced that it has the answer. Perhaps surprisingly they didn’t announce more

The toxic prison attitude that can cost inmates their lives

David Morgan, a 35 year-old man, told staff he’d taken an overdose. A nurse decided the man seemed drunk and needed to ‘sober up’. No proper medical assessment was conducted, and staff locked him in a holding cell. Over the next two and a half hours David became ‘increasingly distressed and unwell’, ‘incapable of coherent

Bombshell: Why aren’t we giving Ukraine what it needs?

36 min listen

On the podcast this week: Boris Johnson writes The Spectator’s cover piece, urging the West to supply more military assistance to Ukraine, in order to bring a swift end to the war. Former commander of the joint forces Sir Richard Barrons and The Spectator’s Svitlana Morenets join the podcast to ask why aren’t we giving Ukraine what it needs?

Don’t condemn McDonald’s for giving prisoners a day job

In the aftermath of Daniel Khalife’s escape and recapture, prisons are in the headlines. Even the most commonplace events, like a prison stabbing, are being widely reported. So, too, is the revelation that ‘prisoners are working in McDonald’s’: that was the gist of an article in the Daily Mail which revealed that a female prisoner

HMP Wandsworth isn’t the only prison in crisis

Daniel Khalife has been on the run for three days. There’s a £20,000 reward for information leading to his capture and police have spent a night disturbing Richmond Park’s deer. As of Saturday morning reported sightings suggest he fled the lorry and has made his way to the Chiswick area. Rightly, many questions have been