Sunday, 3 February 2013

Biggest Jail Shake up in 60 years!

Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, is announcing the biggest shake up in jails for 60 years in an effort to curb a lifestyle that most honest working families could not begin to afford! So what will this entail?

Well amazingly he will stop prisoners watching SKY Sports in televisions in their own cells! What!? When was that nonsense ever introduced into prison life? He may go even further and not even allow televisions in cells!

Then he may not allow them to wear their own clothes and may even introduce 'drab, grey, prison overalls'.  I can just see the 'prison reformers', probably paid for by the European Union', gnashing their teeth at this monstrous outrage.  It is after all a massive breech of 'Human Rights' to deprive a prisoner of his/her own clothes even though most of them have committed a plethora of crimes to even qualify for prison.

However, even worse is to follow. The right to use 'pocket money' (they get pocket money?) to buy toiletries and sweets could be curbed. I just wonder how much 'pocket money' they actually get and where can they buy their toiletries and sweets?  We pay for these luxuries everyone!

Now the next one is hilarious! Gay couples may not be able to share the same cell and may (wait for it) be even moved to separate prisons! It leaves me with the image of a guy lying back on his bed watching Manchester United, in his own clothes, chewing a Mars Bar, smelling sweetly and stroking the head of his lover.

Finally Mr Grayling proposes to disqualify any prisoner from early release if he behaves badly.  Well now that is pretty revolutionary!  So of course I can see why these decisions could be challenged by special interest groups. What he has actually done however, is to highlight why we have so much crime in our society. He has highlighted that under the Labour party our prisons became luxury holiday camps and the Coalition has so far done nothing about it.

The cost to the hard pressed public must be mountainous in an era where austerity is a byword.  There is not one reason why the prison population would want to be returned to society and every reason to believe why they cannot cope once they leave their swish cells, lose their pocket money and possibly their love life! Mr Grayling will have to go much, much further before he will be applauded by me even though he is making a much needed start.

He may even begin to suggest that drugs are banned and that the staff begin to guard the prisoners! Someone recently suggested that a large number of honest, hard-up, pensioners should exchange places with the prison population so that they could achieve a life-style which in modern society is not available to them. Until Mr Grayling badgers the PM and the EU to reverse this trend then the criminal will not have no reason to fear prison life.  


Anonymous said...

Agree with your outrage and bewilderment re most of the stuff going on in prisons but there are a few misconceptions and Daily Fail disinformations in your piece.

The fact is that some of what Grayling says is already on the books, just that it isn't applied too stringently. So there's nothing new in some of what he says. It sounds good though to most people. In itself this is a clue that nothing really will be done.

It's like those ASBOs, as if there weren't already laws against anti-social behaviour. The fact was/is those existing laws weren't and aren't being applied very much so the ASBO introduction looked like the gov't was doing something. Also, more layers of bureaucracy with which to enrich all the extra hangers-on, not least the legal profession.

Withdrawal of early release for bad behaviour already exists and always has done (for decades anyway). It's called Loss of Remission. Remission is of course - time off for good behaviour. Loss of remission is applied by the Governor for breaches of prison rules. Governors will of course be under political (and financial) pressure. Most governors are now glorified accountants - like most school headteachers.

'Pocket Money' is money sent into prison by friends and relatives of a prisoner. It's not taxpayer's money, apart from the fact that most prisoner's benefactors are probably on state benefits, though inevitably not all. There's a weekly limit on how much of this pocket money a prisoner may spend, but that will have expanded over the years as more jails fall under the management of private companies (G4 for eg). Every sale is profit-making, even a packet of Rizla, so the more 'pocket money' spent the more profit is made. It's all corrupt really. All purchases occur at the prison canteen (a little shop within the prison) and prisoners are escorted there at set times, usually once per week. They don't all attend at once of course, but go on a rota basis through the week.

Prisoners also get wages for work they do, on a sliding scale according to the skill-level of the job. Cleaners and such are on the least wages, cooks and carpenters on more and etc. Five days attendance at Education earns basic wages too. Higher wages may now be about 20 quid a week. Plus free board and lodgings of course.

TV sets have to be paid for out of pocket money or wages. Only nominal charges, say a quid or two a week. Not sure about extra for Sky. Probably not.

They won't get rid of TV sets in cells, no way. As one screw has told me - 'TV sets are the best baby-minders ever invented'. Bread and circuses. The TV is the best tool for dumbing and quietening the masses all round, so imagine the effect on aimless prisoners. The introduction of the TV has made screws' lives far easier. The Prison Officers union will thus themselves advise against it I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Thats a great response Bry, this chap obviously knows his stuff. The last paragraph wraps up not just prison life but society in a
nutshell. Tv is the opium of the masses.



bryboy said...

Hm! I am beginning to suspect that I am being played. I value the factual information that Anon 1 inputted but the writing style is familiar.

I had never before seen Neutrino agree with Anon so readily. Perhaps I may have to go down the road of Captain Ranty. I don't want to do this but it is getting stupid!

Anonymous said...

Not too sure what you mean Bry? I thought it was a good response. I am not aware of Captain Ranty, although I did see something in the comments last week but it didn't mean anything to me. I can assure you I'm genuine. I'm always suspicious of comments that are not signed off!



Anonymous said...

Ho hum.

I'm anon 1 and now sorry I forget (yes honestly) to add a name. I will do so below.

I'm not a spammer or a troll or whatever they're called, trying to 'play you'. You must have got my writing style mixed up with someone else .... in a country of 60 millions and then the world beyond. We're not all that unique surely? I think you're getting paranoid about this though I accept you may have been troubled by spammers of late. I wasn't aware of this. Such are the risks however if you are hosting a blog.

You seem a bit miffed that I might have burst a couple of bubbles, albeit I note with thanks you appreciated some facts. You also seem equally miffed that Neutrino 'agrees' with me, though I can't see where he 'agrees', other than accept those facts. I didn't really propose anything so there is no agreeing as such required.

Ok, there was agreement on the attitude (in general) towards TV, but who wouldn't broadly agree with that?

Anyway, thanks for reading. Don't get too carried away with views unrelated to direct experience, or via what you have, in a way, imagined. Or everything you read in the papers.

No hard feelings at all of course. I'm not trying to say your bewilderment or even anger is invalid or should have no place, nor am I trying to be a 'know it all'.

Thanks again