Prisons for whose profit ..
The situation in our prisons should be a major cause of concern. Instead of engaging in education or work activities that are designed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, prisoners spend more and more time locked in their cells with another person not of their choosing. When they are let out to collect medication or make phone calls, many refuse to go back to their cells – they make the most of the time when they are out as they may not know when they will next have an opportunity. Bullying and use of drugs add a toxic element. There are not enough staff available to protect the vulnerable or for a decent regime to be in place, nor to build positive relationships with prisoners. It's well known that many people in prison shouldn't be there. There should be much better services in the community, which would cost far less than keeping people incarcerated. The government wants to be seen to be tough on crime and criminals (fearing a backlash for the Daily Mail) but there is much more to fear – 2500 new staff isn't enough. Of the last cohort of 2000 recruits, within 12 months only 320 are left. Those who work in the system know that the ridiculously low starting salary, long shifts and a stressful job mean that when the new recruits are finally in place, most of them will also walk out to other less stressful jobs.
Prisoners need help to rehabilitate – access to training leading to real jobs on release is a starter. They need somewhere to live but the Supporting People budget no longer provides funding to resource this. And they need money. If you are discharged with £46 to last you until however long it takes for benefits to kick in is it a surprise that people resort to crime?
We need a much more honest approach to dealing with crime and its consequences.
Phil Wheatley and his predecessor, Martin Narey, ensured that decency was high on the agenda. Both were prepared to speak out. Sadly, Michael Spurr, has been almost silent – a sign that the government has demanded, and got, total obedience and silence.
Note from the editor – The author of this piece is a Prison officer afraid of repercussions so chooses to remian Annonymous
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