HARRIS AND PHILPOTT

The Daily Mail is at it again, creating ridiculous stories and reactions out of non news events.
Firstly they report that Rolf Harris was moved straight to Bullingdon Prison in Oxfordshire instead of going via Wandsworth.
Well,it is certainly wrong that any prisoner should be given any kind of preferential treatment but it certainly happens, and very regularly. In my forthcoming book A LIFE OF SENTENCES I cite several instances of this privileged allocation procedure and whilst yes, it is certainly not right, there can in Rolf Harris’s case be a very real justification.
Based on his convictions Harris is in prison parlance a ‘nonce’ and one of the worst possible kind. However,whatever his convictions the prison authorities have a legal ‘duty of care’ towards him as they do all prisners in their care. Harris will, throughout his sentence be a target as ar as the general prison population are concerned and that will obviously be in the minds of prison authorities. By moving him to Bullingdon ther will be a marginally smaller risk of him being attcked than there would have been at Wandsworth.
I’m not suggesting that it is right that Harris should be spared even a short time at a real prison like Wandsworth but he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last.
Once again the Ministry of Justice when asked for their comments hide behind the usual ‘we don’t dicuss individual cases’. Isn’t it about time that they did giving transparency to what they are doing on our behalf? Are they not civil servants, should we not be told what is happening on our behalf using our taxpayers monies?
Now to Philpott. The Mail has a story about him getting new false teeth at taxpayers expense. The Mail seem to forget that people are sent to prison AS punishment, not FOR punishment. Of course Philpott’s crimes were horrendous and of course he deserves every day of his sentence and more in my opinion. But, and it is a big but, he is still a person and is entitled to health care so why do the Mail make such a big thing of his new teeth?
It will be a great day when society generally and the Daily Mail especially realises that prisoners are people and must be treated as such. Yes, we revile them in many cases and the offences they have committed are beyond words but the bottom line is that they are still people.
When I was a listener in prison I was often asked why I dealt with nonces and suchlike and my answer is simple, who am I to judge another person? And I sick by that, no one anywhere in or out of prison is capable of judging another being, and I include our corupt judiciary.

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