Redouble efforts to rehabilitate prisoners, says Suffolk bishop after terror attack
PUBLISHED: 19:00 01 December 2019
The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, was speaking after it emerged one of the victims of the attack, 25-year-old Jack Merritt, had worked at a Suffolk prison.
Mr Merritt was among a group of Anglia Ruskin and University of Cambridge students taking part in the project at HMP Warren Hill. He was said to be deeply committed to prisoner education and rehabilitation.
MORE: Suffolk tributes to Jack Merritt
Bishop Martin said: "My heart goes out to the family and friends of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, both Cambridge graduates, tragically killed in the terror attack at London Bridge on Friday.
"Jack's father David called his son a 'beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog', and it is clear that Jack was murdered doing the work he loved and passionately believed in.
"As course coordinator of the Learning Together programme at Cambridge University's Criminology Department Jack helped prisoners around the country in their journey of rehabilitation, including in Warren Hill Prison here in Suffolk.
"There are clearly questions to be answered about the rehabilitation of those who have committed certain extreme crimes.
"But I know how valuable the programme has been to so many as they make the transition out of prison, and from all we know of Jack, he would want us to redouble our efforts to help."
Also backing the cause is former High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, who said that officials need to hold their nerve over rehabilitation.
"My thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific event," he said.
"I do believe, however, that we must collectively hold our nerve over rehabilitation because the evidence is clearly there that once they have served their punishment, prisoners need support in reintegrating into society.
"I have been working with Warren Hill on a rehabilitation project during the past year, linking community-based mentors with prisoners preparing for release and the impact has so far been very positive."