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Jeremy Corbyn on Pentonville Prison death: ‘Don’t blame officers, blame system that under-funds them’

PUBLISHED: 15:29 21 October 2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for better funding at Pentonville Prison after Jamal Mahmoud was stabbed to death on Tuesday. Pictures: PA

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for better funding at Pentonville Prison after Jamal Mahmoud was stabbed to death on Tuesday. Pictures: PA

Archant

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn today said Jamal Mahmoud’s killing at Pentonville Prison is a “tragic warning lesson” – and criticised government “under-funding” of the Caledonian Road jail.

Pentonville Prison. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PAPentonville Prison. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Mr Mahmoud was stabbed to death on Tuesday. Two other prisoners were critically injured in the incident, while two inmates have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn told the Gazette this afternoon: “I was totally shocked. This tragedy should be a warning lesson.

“It calls into question a prison policy with insufficient officers and too many prisoners. There also seems to be concerns about prisoners not being given sufficient access to education.”

He added: “As leader of the opposition, I seek a Ministry of Justice that works properly with the Prison Governors Association. I don’t blame the prison officers, I blame the system that under-funds it.

“We want to reduce the prison population and improve education and rehabilitation, especially for young offenders.

“I have seen in Denmark and Norway where a lot of money is spent on supporting young offenders. Their re-offending rates are about 20 per cent. In the UK, it’s 70pc.”

Aunty June’s Christmas present

Mr Corbyn was speaking at the launch event of “Enterprising People”, a project at social enterprise shop Outpost in Holloway Road. Enterprising People will work with vulnerable people to develop their artistic talent, as well as develop job skills and support networks.

He said: “What I like about the Outpost trust is that it enables skills, art and creative development. Life is about creativity and the great things humans can do is think. That is why I’m passionate about unlocking creativity in our children.

Jeremy Corbyn with Outpost staff and clients in Holloway Road this afternoon. The Islington North MP launched its Enterprising People project. Picture: James MorrisJeremy Corbyn with Outpost staff and clients in Holloway Road this afternoon. The Islington North MP launched its Enterprising People project. Picture: James Morris

“The different communities, and different outlooks, is what makes Holloway Road so special. I love representing this area, and its spirit and diversity. I’m proud to have been invited here.”

Mr Corbyn joked: “The great thing about this shop is that on Christmas Eve, when you have forgotten to buy Aunty June a present, it is always open!”

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