See the latest entry, JUNE 21st 2011
Prison should be used to house those who have proved they are a threat
to society and are not willing or able to reform.
The length of sentence should not be, as it is now, a measure of
Instead, release from prison should be conditional.
That would mean that some individuals would never be released.
It would be an aim of the system to reduce that number to an absolute
Every individual should have their case evaluated at least annually.
Non violent prisoners may be released when they have:
a. Completed the tasks set for them to give them a chance of living
b. Acknowledged their behavioural errors that led to their sentence
c. Managed to get a retrial or a reversal of their conviction.
If the above are true, then if there is an additional punishment or
restitution required, that can be completed outside.
Until (a) and either (b) or (c) above is true, they must remain in
prison, however (b) may be problematic in the case where a prisoner is
genuinely unrepentant or knows the conviction is flawed. The prisoner
must accept the punishment and the law but may retain the opinion that
he or she was acting unlawfully with justification.
The method of incarceration and care in prison must be completely
changed, making it hugely more efficient and the cost per inmate cut by
75%. It must be an environment where the corruption of one inmate
by another is eliminated. That means that social intercourse must be in
regulated enviroments as in a school for young persons.
This is perfectly possible. The way some of our prisons are run now is
Naturally we would have to build a great many new prisons. The only
unpleasant thing about them for inmates should be the lack of liberty
and the possibility of experiencing lfe as a free individual. Some of
the liberties now enjoyed should be removed. All of the unpleasantness
now inflicted should cease. In brief, life in prison and the length of
incarceration must be CONDITIONAL. A social contract with prisoners, as
distinct from but related to the social contract outside, is required.
JANUARY 25th 2007
The UK prisons are full because there are many people in prison
who should not be, or do not need to be, in them. [see Jan 30th]
outside confinement as they would
disappear or because there are not enough qualified people to undertake
their rehabilitation, which may require intensive personal attention.
engage and train qualified staff to rehabilitate all
those who apply for rehabilitation. Those who do not, and those who are
estimated to be a danger to the public, should remain in prison.
be arbitrarily chosen. Planning permission, in the face of
local objections, is not easy to obtain. Every prison that is opened
has to have trained prison staff. Rehabilitation can only be carried
out by qualified professionals. In a country that has difficulty in its
schools teaching its children to read, write, spell and speak, this is
not something that can be done by just throwing money at it. We do not
run a command economy.
hopeless situation in their country of
provenance, who have fallen foul of the law by trying to survive
without a legitimate means of support.
In today's world, running Britain's gaols is no picnic.
a man who had downloaded pornographic pictures of children
from the Internet is hardly remarkable. The likelyhood of this man,
pictured on prime time television today with his wife or partner, of
reoffending in the near future is virtually zero, certainly less than
if he had served a 6 month prison sentence and as result lost his
house, job, partner and anything else that applies.
the slightest idea of what he, and all of us, are up against.
There is, in spite of published statistics, an increasing crime
rate due to scocial and economic failures and pressures. At the same
time there has been put in place a policy to counter this in advance by
stricter law enforcement. Result - a rapid rise in prison population.
Because the supposed deterrent effect has not matched the increased
socio-economic pressures, particularly in the case of young offenders,
the demand for prison places and services has exceeded the planned
increase in supply. There is no solution acceptable to the public
other than an increased provision of prisons, detention centres and
staff. The public in its other hats obstructs this process.
26 January 2007
Resignation adds to Reid pressure
Pressure on home secretary John
Reid has increased after it emerged the
head of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), Professor Rod Morgan, has quit.
Prof Morgan attacked Labour's
young offenders policy and said children's prisons were being
Mr Reid is already under pressure
after calling for judges to avoid
jailing all but the most serious offenders in a bid to ease prison
A judge said he did not jail a
man who had downloaded child porn as a result.
In an exclusive interview given to BBC Two's Newsnight, Prof Morgan,
said youth courts and children's prisons are being "swamped" with minor
offenders who are "cluttering up" the system.
Echoing the crisis with adult prisoner places, he told Newsnight
standing on the brink of a prisons crisis. We have tonight lots of
people in police cells because there is no space for them in custody
and that's true for children and young people also.
"I regard a 26% increase in the number of children and
young people that are being drawn into the system in the past three
years as swamping", he said.
Prof Morgan became Chair of the Youth Justice Board in April 2004.
He was formerly HM Chief Inspector of Probation for England and
Wales, a post he took up in August 2001.
Mr Morgan's resignation follows opposition attacks on the home
secretary over a child pornography case.
Derek Williams, 46, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, told the BBC he was
to be out" but added: "You cannot blame the judge for what he has done.
His hands are tied. He was only doing his job."
His six-month term of imprisonment was suspended for two years.
Mold Crown Court heard Williams had downloaded dozens of
pornographic images of children on to his computer.
He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of making indecent photographs
between November 2005 and May last year.
In sentencing Judge John Rogers QC said he had to bear in mind "the
current sentencing climate".
This week, Mr Reid and other Cabinet ministers wrote to judges and
magistrates asking them to imprison only the most dangerous and
And on Thursday Mr Reid announced the latest emergency measures to
deal with the prison crisis.
Jails in England and Wales are at bursting point, with about 80,000
Mr Reid revealed an RAF camp in the north of England is to be used
house convicts, and he is also in negotiations over the purchase of two
Construction has also started on prefabricated units to go into a
prison in Merseyside.
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, said the letter to judges was
intended to change sentencing principles, but to set out the current
Lord Falconer said the judges were not being put under pressure to
alleviate prison over-crowding.
"It is our problem....We are not for one moment saying that it is a
problem for judges to solve. We are all doing our bit in the system to
help in the current circumstances."
Shadow home secretary David Davis said of the sentencing: "We now
a situation where sentences are being dictated by the prison capacity
and not the severity of the crime.
"It looks like the consequences of the government's failure to
address the lack of prison places is coming home to roost."
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "This is
inevitable domino effect of a government lurching about in blind panic
trying to solve a prison overcrowding crisis of its own making."