We are constantly faced with endless statistics about the failings of the whole theatre of penal affairs but what does this constant airing of facts really mean? We all, apart from those with their heads totally in the clouds, know that there is a major crisis and that it is very quicklt getting worse yet nothing seems to be happening about it.
Clearly there is no political will to sort out the mess, this government’s will is elsewhere, namely the creation of profitable contracts for the companies supported by the Tories.
Before any actions can be taken there must be a total change in the mindset of those responsible. They must ask the question “Does prison in its present format work?” Very clearly this is a complex question and before it can be answered we first have to decide what prison is for, what are the aims and goals. There is in my submission just one area where prison does work and that is where it is used purely to detain those who are a genuine danger to the community and for whom there is no other answer. It has to be said though that this group form a very small, and I mean very small, percentage of the population.
Prison certainly doesn’t rehabilitate in any form, it doesn’t act as a deterrent except to very few first time offenders and it certainly doesn’t punish so in effect we have a very expensive system which achieves very, very little.
It is therefore essential that the future must be addressed by looking at the whole penal theatre and taking some very radical decisions based on reality and not using prisons as a political football and the cinderella of social services.
Change is desperately needed NOW!!!!

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