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Justice Secretary Liz Truss has released the 2017 Prisons and Courts Bill in a bid to change the life chances of offenders and prioritise victims by putting them at the heart of the justice system.

There are four areas predominantly covered in the bill; prison safety and reform, court reform, the judiciary and whiplash compensation.

Prison safety and reform

The Bill sets out a new framework and a clear system of accountability for prisons across the UK. Governors will take ownership of budgets for employment, health and education and will be held accountable for tackling prisoner alcohol and drug addiction, learning English and Maths and reading as well as reading them for work upon release. League tables will also be put together to show the progression within these key areas.

Court Reform

The MoJ stresses that victims and vulnerable witnesses are central to the newly introduced Bill with a raft of new measures designed to enhance their protection at court. 
To reduce the risk of victims coming face-to-face with assailants, the use of virtual hearings will become more commonplace. This means that more hearings will be resolved through video or telephone conferencing, allowing a swifter delivery of justice. 

The judiciary

The bill also intends to provide a better working environment for judges through IT solutions along with modern court facilities to help manage cases more efficiently. 
It’s also hoped it will become simpler for the judiciary to dispatch judges more flexibly, allowing them to gain experience through dealing with different types of cases, which will help address backlogs. 

Whiplash compensation

Cuts by around £40 a year from car insurance premiums will also be made, with new fixed tariffs capping whiplash compensation pay-outs along with a ban on claims without any medical evidence.

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