PRISONS, crime and punishment will always be the subject of great debate.

There are those from the “lock them up and throw away the key” school of thought who believe strongly in the deterrent effect of long prison sentences.

There are also others who believe in a greater emphasis on efforts to steer people away from a life of crime believing that failing to work to turn lives around will lead to great disenfranchisement of a section of society and, in turn, high re-offending rates.

My view is we must strike a balance between both and I am a huge believer in the need for victims of crime to see strong punishments for the people who have wronged them.

However, important and excellent work is being done in Fylde which I am keen to highlight.

A local group called A2ndChance visited me at the House of Commons this week, to update me on their work.

This social enterprise is run by two ex-offenders and addicts who have turned their lives around and now want to help others do the same.

After meeting in recovery they are now making hugely positive strides and are now working with Kirkham Prison and other organisations to try to help others back on to the straight and narrow.

We also, of course, have Pierpoint House in St Annes which does amazing work in helping people to free themselves from the clutches of addiction while other organisations like Hope UK also make a huge contribution. 

It’s pleasing to see so many groups working to try to tackle these problems in Fylde.

Elsewhere last week I was pleased by the Health Secretary’s commitments in the early access measures he put forward to giving critically ill patients greater access to new and potentially life savings drugs.

There is nothing more frustrating for people in this terrible situation as being denied access to drugs which could potentially extend or save their lives.

Britain has, throughout history, been at the forefront of medical research and this could open the way for just that.

And finally I am very much looking forward to another busy week of constituency appointments including visits to Ansdell Primary, New Fylde Housing and Adult Support and Outreach in St Annes.

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