NOTTINGHAM PRISON 2

Yesterday I posted a blog about Nottingham Prison. The piece was a very short blog reacting to earlier reports of the Prisons Inspectorate published earlier in the day and necessarily was brief and to the point.
I would just like to expand a couple of the points I made.
Firstly I commented that staff need to be retrained to adopt new attitudes towards inmates. I need I think to make it clear that I wasn’t being critical of the staff per se, rather of the situation they find themselves in. Working, as they do in a highly charged and potentially dangerous environment it is natural that this reflects on their feelings and emotions, no matter how professional and dedicated they try to be self preservation and protection will be the overriding feature of their personalities. This is both natural and understandable.
The problems at Nottingham rest fairly and squarely with the National Offender Management Unit who have reduced staffing levels to such an extent that the prison just cannot function as it should and this leads to all kinds of problems.
Any prison is an isolated microcosm of the society in which it is based and Nottingham seems to suffer a lot from the gang culture in the city itself. That culture has permeated the prison population with the result that instead of consisting of individual inmates the prison is overrun with small but dangerous groups of guys replicating their gang loyalties from outside, clearly where there are insufficient security staff to manage this the problem simply increases.
Added to that there is the major problem of the drugs culture inside. The easiest place in the country to get hold of drugs is in a prison, that is a fact not fiction. Because of the tension in prison many previously clean guys become addicted to drugs in one form or another whilst serving a sentence. Demand builds up as a factor in everyday prison life and where there is demand there will always be those willing to supply. That leads, as in outside society to drug wars and to bullying with the most vulnerable soon falling to the bottom of the pile.
Nottingham is failing, is not fit for purpose and the only answer is to drastically increase staff levels to allow those dedicated and professional staff to regain control of the establishment so that it can once again become a positive and thriving part of the prisons estate. Once again this all illustrates that to succeed the authorities must put people before profits.
The population in Nottingham needs to be drastically reduced to allow the work it should be doing with offenders to be carried out in humane, clean and civilised premises.

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