Prisons in the press – 16 October

The jailhouse is rocking and prison populations soar   

Prisoners threw a party that the wardens definitely weren't invited to... Image:

Prisoners threw a party that the wardens definitely weren’t invited to… Image: Bart Heird

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

The Scottish prison population is likely to increase following the abolition of early-release legislation. Scottish Legal News reports that under a new Bill, no long-term prisoner in Scotland will be eligible for automatic release after two thirds of their sentence. Click here for the full story.

 

In context

In June this year, legislation was passed that brought to an end the automatic early release of prisoners who had been jailed for over four years.

While the Scottish government is consulting on further reductions in the use of short-term prison sentences of six months or less (read below) it’s latest decision will lead to an increase in the prison population.

Under the Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill, as well as no longer being eligible for automatic release, long-term prisoners will also have a mandatory six-month period of supervision for the most serious offenders.

Whilst the Scottish Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson hoped the decision would “help create a more balanced justice system”, a Howard League spokeswoman said:

“Once the recent legislation takes full effect, it is likely to increase the size of the prison population.”

Interactive map prisons Soctland

There has been a 33 per cent rise in Scotland’s prison population from 5,308 in 2000 to 7,647 today

For more information on Scotland’s prison service, click here.

 

Revealed this week 

  1. The Government cancels a £5.9 million contract to provide a training programme for prisons in Saudi Arabia. The decision is a significant victory for the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, whose attempts to cancel the project had been resisted by David Cameron. The Guardian has the full story.
  2. An officer suffered serious burns after an attack at a Young Offenders Institute in Rochester. Kent Online reports that boiling water was thrown in the face of the officer at Cookham Wood YOI, just weeks after it was reported that the institute was a hot bed of violence, we brought you further details in the 25th September Prisons in the Press.
  3. A group of inmates at a Hertfordshire prison have filmed themselves partying and taking drugs behind bars. The Daily Mail reports that the footage, which is thought to have been recorded on a banned mobile phone at HMP The Mount, shows the inmates drinking homemade alcohol and dancing, while enjoying other contraband, including TVs, stereos and even a PlayStation.  Click here see the clip and read more.
  4. Walton prison staff slammed for prisoner’s death following an investigation. Workers at HMP Liverpool were found to have failed the 43-year-old inmate on a number of accounts, including the over-use of handcuffs in transporting him and failing to tell his next of kin that he was ill. The Liverpool Echo has the story.

 

More from Scotland this week

  1. Scottish prisons inspector backs end to sentences of less than 12 months. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland David Strang told Holyrood that a shift away from prison sentences up to a year would be “perfectly reasonable” and called for an end to custodial sentences up to six months. Click here to read more.
  2. Stress-related staff absence at north-east prison amounts to six years of work. Staff at Peterhead’s £150 million HMP Grampian have, since 2013, taken more sick days for anxiety, stress and depression than at any other prison in Scotland. The Press and Journal have the story.

 

In other news 

  1. Six ex-offender charities have been shortlisted for The Guardian Charity Awards 2015. Belong London, Khulisa, Switchback, The Irene Taylor Trust, West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project and Working Chance have all made the list. To read the full list, click here.
  2. Cardiff prison restaurant makes UK Top Ten. ‘The Clink’, staffed by low-risk prisoners from Prescoed and Cardiff prisons, has been named alongside Michelin-starred eateries on TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Favourite Fine Dining Restaurants UK. The BBC has more.

 



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