Tuesday, April 29, 2008

THE PRISON OFFICERS SPOKESMAN !

Which self appointed prison expert said the following:-

“Inmates are so comfortable in jail that they do not want to escape”
“they can get hold of drugs, mobile phones and even sex”
“He knew of cases of prostitutes entering open jails to service clients”
“We have got no-go areas in certain prisons because prisoners have got complete control”
“prisoners enjoyed satellite television and video game consoles”
“Drugs are coming into prisons at a rate that's so dramatic that drugs in prison are actually cheaper than on the outside”

The expert in question is none other than Glyn Travis of the Prison Officers Association, he apparently speaks for the prison officers, god help them.
As someone who has been in several prisons I have no hesitation in saying that this guy is talking absolute nonsense, quite frankly our prison system is a disgrace, our prisons are no more than human zoos where human beings are being treated so badly that most come out worse than when they went in.

Most make no attempt at rehabilitation and suicide and self harming are still rising, meanwhile we have 70 % of inmates suffering from 2 or more mental health conditions which are not being treated, this is the reality of prison in Britain today a reality which shames our country, it is not civilised to treat people this way.
What makes matters worse is it does not work, most prisons have revolving doors because we are still in the dark ages with our penal system.

Last week in Scotland a young woman prisoner 7 months pregnant was subjected to appalling humiliation when she had to go for medical treatment, she was forced to be examined, use the toilet and shower on the end of a chain which was connected at the other end to a prison officer. Oh ! and the officer was male, is anyone proud of this ?
Perhaps Mr. Travis thinks this is OK, perhaps he thinks prisoners self harm or even take their own lives because the picture on their satellite TV is wonky.

I think it’s about time that we took a good hard look at officers like Mr. Travis and reassessed their suitability to be anywhere near a prison, it’s time the prison system had an enema.

21 comments:

Surreptitious Evil said...

Entirely - there are a number of appalling failings in the prison system and these do appear to be worse in Scotland.

People with serious mental health or drug problems should be in care, not in prison - I accept that some need to be confined for the safety of society - but the lack of funding, especially for drugs treatment is a disgrace.

Prison should have two purposes - punishment and rehabilitation. The lack of effort put into the latter is disgusting - whether it is some spin doctor's "we can't be seen to be soft on criminals" frankly bollocks, or a lack of understanding about the way some prisons have operated to further distance prisoners from mainstream society.

The status of pregnant and nursing women is an issue for society - especially as so many, compared to the male prison population, are in prison for issues that, frankly, custody is a poor answer for - prostitution and drugs possession offences and non-payment of fines. At the very least, sufficient female staff should be provided to allow as much decorum in there treatment as is compatible with basic security.

The endless ratcheting up of tariffs to appease the Daily Mail brigade, the latest front page outrage and the understandably upset victims needs to be stopped - prison should be a last resort rather than the initial reaction. But that requires proper funding of probation and community sentence options and the ever-absent politician with a backbone.

I am going to have a drink now to convince myself that I have not whole-heartedly agreed with a Terry post.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with a male officer and woman prisoner? Your Government and party love mixed sex wards in hospitals so why not in nicks?

Anonymous said...

If they can't do the time, they shouldn't do the crime.

When these scamps are locked up, they are not at liberty to make everyone elses life a misery.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to drag you back to the "american jails are racist" theme but I found this interesting article about the racial divide in the US jail population.

Would you care to read over it and indicate if it has any bearing on your opinions?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Surreptitious Evil) 29/04/08

Why are you masquerading as (Surreptitious Evil) he will be furious if he reads this.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 29/04/08

I will print this as another example of the kind of creepy characters who write to me.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 08:23

Have you ever thought of taking up philosophy full time ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 09:14

Well I stuck with it and yes it does have an influence on my opinion. I strengthens my absolute certainty that America is a racist cesspit.

Reactionary Bush supporting rags like this and writers like this author are the KKK without their hoods.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 09:14

Well I stuck with it and yes it does have an influence on my opinion. I strengthens my absolute certainty that America is a racist cesspit.

Reactionary Bush supporting rags like this and writers like this author are the KKK without their hoods.

Rumbold said...

Terry:

Like Surreptitious Evil, I find myself agreeing with you. Good post- prison reform is your strongest area, and you should write more on it. Reform will never take place though, not as long as the two main parties keep pandering to the tabloids.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Rumbold) 12:00

All parties pander to the tabloids on this issue with the possible exception of ‘Respect’ the SSP etc. who have the luxury of saying anything they want, nobody cares that much.

Anita Herman said...

Great post. However the prison officers spokesman sadly wasn't totally wrong. There are prisons where gangs have pretty much got the run of the place due to bad decisions made higher up, poor staffing levels and corrupt officers.

This in turn makes it pretty much impossible to rehabilitate anyone. Add in to this the way we have come to use prison as a dumping ground for the mentally ill and we have a situation that should shame every decent member of society.

Modern prison is a place where you can have every privilege there is except those that matter. I very briefly worked at a Y.O.I as a teacher and was amazed to find prisoners sitting in cells with T.V and playstations but discouraged by certain officers and their fellow inmates from taking up educational/training opportunities. It was also well known that certain officers would turn a blind eye to drugs, drink, gangs etc.

There is a minority of people who will, no matter what anyone does remain in prison for most of their lives but the majority can and should be turned around. The fact is many of these people come from homes where they were left to run wild and never encouraged to work towards goals. Prison should offer us the opportunity to turn these lives around. Prisoners should be offered the stark choice take real steps to addressing your problems and finding a direction in life or sit here and rot. Those choosing to address their situation should be given all the constructive help going, not 'contained' with computer games and drugs or left to carry on criminal activities assisted by corrupt officers.

The irony is that none of this helps victims of crime. We have turned prisons into universities of crime and with every repeat offence are paying the price.

Surreptitious Evil said...

I'm not too sure that the Lib-Dems pander much to the Daily-Mail tendency - whether in Scotland or at Westminster.

David Heath's comment directly addresses the issue you raised regarding mental health in prisons and mine regarding drug addiction.

Mind you, unless helped by mendacious scoundrels such as, say, Scottish Labour, the Lib-Dems have little more chance than the SSP or Respect of gaining power except at the council level.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anita Herman) 02/05/08

Prisons are indeed hellish places but, they reflect society, I have been involved in the prison system for years and I know many people who work in it, that is why I know that this officer is exaggerating.
There is crime, violence, drug problems but I have never come across ‘no go areas’ he is flying a kite for the sake of his members.

“The fact is many of these people come from homes where they were left to run wild and never encouraged to work towards goals”

You could add that they come from a background where they are born to fail, criminals are not ‘born’, new born babies are not criminals.
That’s what they become and that’s the fault of the grasping capitalist philosophy that we live by.

We have never produced a Home Secretary or major Party of any colour with the courage to face the tabloids and admit the truth.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Surreptitious Evil) 10:00

You will probably find that the mission statements from all 3 parties are not all that different.

If the Lib. Dems. were close to power they would behave in the same way as the others, the reactionary press would eat them alive and they would quickly fold.

Anita Herman said...

'We have never produced a Home Secretary or major Party of any colour with the courage to face the tabloids and admit the truth.'

Hear, hear!

Real change in the prison system will only come from campaign groups etc. Party politics is a dead loss here -despite the efforts of individual politicians such as yourself.

Incidentally my involvement with prisons has been in a paid capacity and some prison visiting work. In terms of campaigning for reform what organisation would you recommend for interested individual;s to get involved with?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anita Herman) 04/05/08
I understand your frustration at the lack of progress and I accept that campaign groups have a huge role to play but I believe that in the final analysis it will be down to politics, I hope that doesn’t worry you too much.

I have taken an interest for many years, inspired by Lords Soper and Longford and other very brave campaigners.
I’ve argued within the Labour Party but it’s a massive vote loser, at the risk of sounding defeatist we seem to be heading in the wrong direction i.e. sentencing policy, treatment of prisoners, building ‘super prisons’ a tabloid driven policy.

I joined the Barlinnie Visiting Committee as the representative councillor from Renfrewshire and served for 8 Yrs. I would recommend that anyone who wants to make a contribution should approach their local prison and volunteer for the Visiting Committee. Google ‘Prison reform Scotland’ and there are many organisations doing their best to drag us out of the dark ages.

I believe that there are many many people across the political spectrum who share our views but the task is to get them to stand up.

Serpico said...

"You could add that they come from a background where they are born to fail, criminals are not ‘born’, new born babies are not criminals.
That’s what they become and that’s the fault of the grasping capitalist philosophy that we live by."

And has nothing whatever to do with the lack of parental discipline; the lack of any willingness or desire for education; the lack any sort of work ethic.

"It was the capitalists wot me made me do it m'lud"

I think you'll find that it is the dependnecy on state welfare that is more to blame for criminality and worklessness, than capitalism. You really do have your head firmly wedged between your buttocks.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Serpico) 12:32

“And has nothing whatever to do with the lack of parental discipline; the lack of any willingness or desire for education; the lack any sort of work ethic”

This is what leads them into juvenile crime, and broken homes, then into care, then in and out juvenile prisons. If you were in the Army you would have met plenty of them.
After the Army has used and discarded them it’s back to homelessness, crime and in and out of jail again, capitalism is great isn’t it ?

Unlike badge kissers like you I have enough concern for them to tell the truth.

Serpico said...

"If you were in the Army you would have met plenty of them.
After the Army has used and discarded them it’s back to homelessness, crime and in and out of jail again, capitalism is great isn’t it ? "

I was and I did. I trained and fought alongside many young men, good youg men who did come from such backgrounds. But they did not let their background drag them down but instead chose to rise above it and become better men for it. A good number still remain great friends.

There will always be those who for one reason or another slip through the net or do not have the self-respect and self-discipline to make something of themselves outside of the armed forces. More's the pity. But to blame that on capitalism is stupidity in the extreme.

The Army Benevolent Fund and the British Legion work extremely hard to help those ex-service men and women who have fallen on hard times.

I think you'll find that it is this government that so hates the armed forces that it refuses to equip them properly and refuses to provide proper medical care when wounded in service of their country.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Serpico) 16:07

Now you’ve gone and made me feel all emotional. Are they some of the 800 a year who get kicked out for drug offences ?

You were definitely in intelligence weren’t you ?