Prisons in the press – 9 October

Convict chauffeurs and forgotten inmates


“To the prison Parker.” “Yes Mi’Lady.” Image: Thundebirds YouTube

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

Over 4,500 prisoners are serving life sentences for minor crimes at a cost of more than £119 million to the UK taxpayer under sentences that were officially abolished three years ago, a Vice News investigation has found.

In context

Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPP) were introduced 10 years ago in the UK to keep criminals behind bars until they were no longer deemed a risk to the public, but their crimes did not warrant a fixed life sentence.

In 2012 IPP’s were scrapped after Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke admitted the legislation was “unclear, inconsistent and used far more than ever intended“. Although designed for the most dangerous offenders, IPP sentences were given out for relatively minor crimes.

Though the UK courts stopped handing out the sentences in 2012, the ban did almost nothing to impact those already serving an IPP.

Read the full investigation by Vice News here.

Where do female prisoners go from England and Wales?

In the 31st July Prisons in the Press we bought you a similar story as it was revealed that there are over 2,000 more women in prison today than there were 20 years ago, many of whom shouldn’t be there at all. To find out more, click here.


Revealed this week 

  1. Aylesbury’s Young Offenders’ Institute is a “dire, dangerous and disastrous prison”. In his report, Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Harwick, said the jail in Buckinghamshire was violent and unsafe, with long periods of lock-up and inactivity causing inmates to become frustrated and aggressive. The Bucks Herald has the full story.
  2. Reading prison is to be mothballed as as a “contingency measure” by the Ministry of Justice. Deputy leader of Reading Borough Council, Cllr Tony Page, angered by the MoJ’s decision highlights that it costs £250,000 a year to keep the Grade II listed prison empty and disused and has launched a petition in a bid to reverse the “disastrous” decision. Get Reading has the story. To find out exactly how much it costs to be sent to prison, click here.
  3. Good work experience for an inmate? Chauffeuring the Prison Governor of course. The Daily Mail has obtained photos of HMP Sudbury Deputy Governor Chiarina Romano being collected by one of four different convicts who are tasked with driving the unsupervised five mile trip to Uttoxeter train station. The Ministry of Justice says the service is part of convicts “rehabilitation”. To read more, click here.


In other news 

  1. Over 5,000 people visit Shrewsbury’s Dana prison. In the 31st July Prisons in the Press we told you Shrewsbury prison was opening its doors as a tourist attraction. Now, following the success of its Jailhouse tours, bosses are introducing bone-chilling night time tours which will uncover the grisly side of prison life (just in time for Halloween). The Shropshire Star has the story.
  2. The most-borrowed books at Cardiff prison are revealed. Of the 10,000 titles available to HMP Cardiff prisoners, Essential Abs was the most popular book since 2012, whilst Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson was the most loaned novel. The BBC has the full list here.
  3. Prison doors will slam shut on MP as he does time for a good cause. The Frome Standard reports that MP David Warburton will spend 24 hours in Shepton Mallet prison this weekend to raise money for SOS Africa. Mr Warburton will join 180 other inmates, all of who have raise over £15,000 to help the charity.


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