Saturday 5 November 2016

The state of British prisons

Michael Gove:
"Looking at the cold facts, I have to count myself lucky I’m not in prison. As someone who both spent time in care and is a member of parliament I belong to at least two minority groups over-represented in our jails."

"Admittedly, the presence of so many politicians among the ranks of ex-prisoners probably represents something healthy in our culture be you ever so high, the law is above you. But the huge number of individuals who’ve been in the state’s care as children who then end up in prison is a scandal."

"There is something criminal about our justice system. Which is why it’s so welcome that Liz Truss, our justice secretary, is determined to reform it."

"Prisons are a regrettable necessity in any society. Those who’ve broken the law need to accept punishment because defending the distinction between right and wrong is the foundation of any enduring moral or civic order..."

"Our prison population is disproportionately made up of individuals who have been abused or neglected as children, who have witnessed domestic violence when growing up, who have been failed by the education system and who have been in foster or other residential care. They will often have been brought up by adults with addictions or other mental health problems. They will, in all too many cases, suffer from substance abuse and mental illness themselves..."


I was beginning to think Mr Gove had turned over a new leaf.

And then this:
Being a prison officer is a noble calling. They dedicate their lives to saving those whom the rest of us have given up on.
Which is why Ms Truss is right to support prison officers. And to empower prison governors: giving them more control over their jails, allowing them to tailor policies to individual prisoners, making them more accountable for educational outcomes and getting more prisoners working in the real economy will all help. As will ending the regime of prisoners being banged up for 23 hours at a time, an approach driven by safety concerns but one which only inspires more violence.
Empowering prison governors and supporting prison officers in privatised prisons? I don`t think so.

Having listened to the plight of Melanie Shaw, child abuse survivor, languishing in a prison cell twenty three hours out of every twenty four, not knowing when the ordeal is going to end, being badly treated by her prison wardens and with hardly any communication with the outside world, the cruelty displayed by this decrepit state is so much worse than anything done by the petty criminals inside the prison.

Mr Gove, you were justice secretary; you know what goes on.
As for politicians being over-represented in the prison population, there`s plenty more on the outside getting away with it, assisted by their morally bankrupt friends.

Nice try. But only those ignorant of the facts will swallow it.

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