Prisons in the press – 4 December

Children pay the price for their parents imprisonment and hundreds of inmates could be home for Christmas

... Prisoners to be allowed home for Christmas. Image: Stefan

Hundreds of prisoners may be allowed home for Christmas. Image: Stefan


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 prison system is jeopardising the rights of thousands of children to see their dads, new report claims. Barnardo’s says children with a parent in prison are the “innocent victims of someone else’s crime“. Wales Online has the full story.

In context

Barnardo’s estimates that 200,000 children in England and Wales have a parent in prison and more than 17,000 youngsters visit a prison each month.

Though the charity’s research has suggested that visits can help cut re-offending rates by nearly 40 per cent, their report, called Locked Out, has found that visiting hours are increasingly being taken away to punish male prisoners under the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme. This means that some children are able to visit their fathers in prison for just two hours a month.

But the rules are not the same for women’s prisons, where, – as the Guardian reports – official guidance explicitly states that children of prisoners should not be penalised in effect for their mother’s actions.

To find out more about mothers in prison read our Women in prison: the stats unlocked or our interview about motherhood in criminal and social justice with writer Lucy Baldwin.


Revealed this week 

  1. Second transgender woman found dead just weeks after the suspected suicide of Vicky Thompson. The Mirror reports that Joanne Latham was found hanged by a prison officer at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes last Friday. Her death comes a week after peers backed reform of the treatment of transgender prisoners (we brought you the details in last week’s Prisons in the Press.
  2. Prisons to introduce tests for legal highs in bid to reduce violence. Prisons minister Andrew Selous tells MPs the tests will prove be a “gamechanger” in curbing the rising tide of violence in jails across England and Wales, detecting substances such as spice and black mamba. The Guardian has more.
  3. Up to 100 prisoners serving life sentences will be let out of jail at Christmas for a five-day break with their families. The move, which last year saw 93 lifers freed for the festive season, has caused outrage among just campaigners. The Express has the story.
  4. The number of inmates sore as budgets are set to be cut even further. In last week’s spending review the Chancellor told the Ministry of Justice it had to find £600m worth of savings by 2019 (a 15 per cent cut) while statistics released by the government show an increase in prisoners. How is the Minister for Justice Michael Gove going to balance the books? Read more here.



Scotland this week

  1. Inmates’ wrecking sprees cost  Scottish jails £270,000 in just two years. The country’s newest jail HMP Grampian was one of the worst hit with £145,477 worth of damage done when prisoners vandalised the facility during a riot last May. Find out more here.
  2. This week TV cameras show what life is really like in Scottish prisons. The Sky1 documentary Prison: First and Last 24 Hours follows offenders at the beginning and ends of their sentences in a fly on the wall special. The Daily Record has the story.


In other news  

What do plastic chairs and bees have in common? They’re just two of the ways that Indian inmates have duped their prison guards and escaped. The BBC details four of the most unusual ways Indian prisoners have managed to escape. Read more here.

One Comment on “Prisons in the press – 4 December”

  1. […] last week’s news that a second transgender woman was found dead just weeks after the suspected suicide of Vicky […]


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