Friday, April 24, 2009
The experience of the French (who built a 3600-place prison) suggest this is the right decision – according to HM Inspector of Prisons Ann Owers the verdict of French Ministry of Justice on such super-prisons is very clear – 'Never Again'.
However the Government still seems committed to spending something like £2.3 thousand million on 10,000 extra prison places with five new Prisons on the stocks – and at 1500 places per prison these are still pretty massive developments. It seems that CCTV will be an important part of ‘cost-saving’ in running such prisons, despite the fact that personal contact between prisoners and staff is a vital part of any genuine rehabilitation process.
This discussion in the Quaker news-sheet ‘Around Europe’ summarises a number of important aspects of the debate.
In July 2007, shortly after becoming Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw himself admitted that ‘the government would not be able to build its way out of the prisons’ crisis’.
Why then are these prisons being built? Why are the predictions of increases in future prison
populations being treated as a definite rather than as an opportunity to heed a warning, take action and develop new strategies for dealing with offenders? The current strategy of prison expansion is no strategy at all, rather a gigantic mistake.
By the way, can I recommend ‘Around Europe’ as a general information source for LibDems? Have a look at the matters dealt with in the archives from the links on this page. For example the December 2008 issue looked at Women’s health and imprisonment in Europe.
And if you want to keep an eye on the questions some concerned citizens might put to our EuroCandidates, have a look at the QCEA Euro-Election page.