I’m pretty sure it’s a political confection, the visceral hatred of criminals this government exhibits. It doesn’t indicate any serious reflection on who is actually in prison, what happens to them during their sentence, or what it will take for society to reabsorb them when they’re released.Society seems to lag behind politics in that respect, with so many old lags totally unaffected by a spell in chokey…
It’s there to establish their credentials as men – tough, morally certain and on the side of right.You have noticed that they aren’t all men? And, speaking as a not-man, I’m pretty hot on crims being punished for their crimes, Zoe..
Ken Clarke made genuine efforts to reduce prison numbers; professionals said at the time that it was the first time in years they’d had a justice secretary who understood the prison estate and what it needed.It didn’t play too well with the voters, though, did it? And they are the ones politicians need to please, not the liberal bleeding hearts in the Prison Service.
Chris Grayling, his replacement, seems to take a kind of giddy delight in how little he comprehends of a business before “reforming” it . As a direct result of his policies and tough-guy posturing, the number of prisoners increases every week. It even went up in August, which is unheard of because courts are on holiday.Hurrah! Maybe that’s why crime is said to be down?
And, of course, there are other ways of reducing the prison population…
Suicides have gone up by 64%. Everybody knows what causes suicides in prison. Too many inmates have mental health problems and shouldn’t even be in prison in the first place. Had the sentencing magistrate been better trained, or simply more sensitive, they would have been handed a community sentence and stood a chance of getting the healthcare they needed (though, considering the underfunding of mental health services, not a very strong chance).I really, really don’t think we need more sensitive magistrates. The ones we have are already as wet as the ocean.
Wandsworth prison four years ago was a huge success story of modern jailcraft – it had a flagship education system, award-winning sex offender rehabilitation programmes and responsive, highly trained prison officers. In 2010 it had 427 officers; this June it had 260, to manage 1,634 prisoners. Four men have killed themselves since the beginning of the year.Well, fewer crims means fewer staff needed!
One appalling detail is that all deaths have shot up, even deaths from illness. Heart attacks that needn’t be fatal are, because there aren’t the staffing levels to get people to hospital in time. … It would be instructive for Grayling to go into a prison in the days after a suicide, or on the day of the funeral. The staff are destroyed by these events.Really? Were staff in floods of tears when Fred West topped himself? Frankly, that ought to be a sackable offence!
This is what prisons look like when the political rhetoric is all about the victim, and the criminal is relevant only insofar as he or she is seen to get their just deserts.Yup, those wretched victims of crime, wanting their pound of flesh, eh, Zoe?