As we all, apart from Failing Grayling, know,there is a deep crisis with the whole penal system bought about by many factors which have come into play over the years and exacerbated by the total failure of the currect MoJ. Sadly, my own feelings are that the system is so unfit for purpose that there isn’t a one off solution. To make any change will call for radical changes in both approach and practice.
Initially there are two basic questions which must be answered before anything can be done.
Firstly we must define what prison is there for. No one working in the system has any idea what the answer to that question is. Obviously if those running the system have no clear idea of why they are running the system they can make no progress.
Again my opinion is that before we try any kind of reforms we must answer that question.
To do that we have to get rid of any preconceived ideas or theories and start again from the beginning. This will only work if we get away from giant superprisons and return to an era of small local prison communities where progress can be made.
We have to determine, with input from the judiciary, why a particular offender is sent to custody. Is it for punishment, prevention or rehabilitation? It can’t be for all three. Having determined that these small local prisons must be set up to deal exclusively with one of those aspects and not be generic. Only in that way can we hope to make any positive progress.
At the same time we must get rid of the present MoJ dogma and start putting people before profist and look at the bigger picture. Every prisoner is an individual with individual components and must be treated as such. Can you imagine the result if all patients admitted to a hospital were instead of being diagnosed were treated in exactly the same way although each has an individual medical problem? It just defies thinking about and so it is with the individuals who make up the prison population!!!!!!!!!!