Prisons in the press – 31st July

Murders, terrorists, attacks on wardens and…smoking in prisons  

... Source: Carsten ten Brink Flickr

Levels of secondhand smoke in UK prisons similar to those experienced by bar staff before the smoking ban. Source: Carsten ten Brink Flickr

 

Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.

Hot off the press

A record number of women are imprisoned in the UK for ‘minor’ crimes. A report by the Prison Reform Trust has found that 80 per cent of female inmates have committed non- violent crimes and could have benefited more from community service. The Telegraph has more.

In context

There are over 2,000 more women in prison today than there were 20 years ago, prompting former Minister of State for Justice Simon Hughes to comment in February 2015:

“There are so many women who ought not to be in prison. About half ought not to be there at all.”

For a full break down of the facts and figures of women in prison and the impact of sending mothers to prison, read our post here.

Where do female prisoners go from England and Wales?

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Revealed this week

  1. Prison killings reach the highest level since records began in 1978. The BBC reports that in the last year there have been a record number of murders or manslaughters in prisons in England and Wales.
  2. Savage attacks on wardens inside increasingly dangerous prisons soar by 50 per cent in one year as a result of staff numbers being slashed. The Mirror has more.
  3. Two convicted terrorists who claimed their prison segregation was unlawful have won their challenge at the UK’s highest court according to The Telegraph.
  4. Wandsworth, Britain’s biggest prison, has been condemned in Chief Inspector Nick Hardwick’s latest report. Problems include staff shortages, prisoners locked in overcrowded cells for 23 hours a day, deteriorating health care and inadequate education and rehabilitation work according to The Evening Standard.
  5. Health services at HMP and YOI Portland in Dorset are “unsafe and unhygienic”, a report has found. Inspectors also found the holding cells at the prison and young offenders institute to be in “an unacceptably decrepit and dirty state.” The BBC has the story.

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Campaigned this week

The push for a total smoking ban in UK prisons continues as reports show Ministry of Justice was aware of health risks to prison staff since 2007. An anti-tobacco charity says that fears of mass riots in jails after a smoking ban are misplaced. The Guardian reports.

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In other news 

1. The inmates of Bastoy prison, Norway, are allowed to swim, sunbathe and play tennis and have a re-offending rate of 16 per cent. As reported in last week’s Prisons in the Press, prisons in England and Wales are in their worst state for a decade, with more than 50 per cent of UK inmates likely to re-offend within 12 months. Could Norway-style rehabilitation be the answer? Read more from The Big Issue here.

2. Shrewsbury’s Dana prison opens to the public next month in its guise as a tourist attraction. The ‘prison officer’ led Jailhouse Tours will run for 12 months with the purpose of giving visitors a taste of the prisoner experience. The Shropshire Star has more.

 



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