Prisons in the Press – 11 December

Murders in prison hit an all time high and an inmate pleads to be home in time for turkey   

... Image: Neil Whitehouse Piper

A prisoner is desperate to be reminded of this Christmas delight. Image: Neil Whitehouse Piper

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

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Hot off the press

Boxing sessions are preventing extremism in Doncaster prison. Tory MP Charlotte Leslie insisted the sport is proving successful at helping prevent extremism and has called for a pilot of non-contact boxing in more prisons. Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said that he would meet with the Bristol MP to discuss her suggestion. The Star has the story.

In context

During exchanges during justice questions in the Commons, Ms Leslie said:

“The often troubled young men and women who fall prey to manipulative and destructive extremist ideology, instead of having their anger and drive directed elsewhere, are to be pitied.”

While Prisons Minister Andrew Selous says sport can help prisoners’ rehabilitation, Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz says he is “not absolutely convinced” that boxing or “table tennis” would form a central part of deradicalisation programmes.

... Image: Kristin Wall

MP Charlotte Leslie has asked that the scheme be piloted in other prisons. Image: Kristin Wall

As of July 2015, under the Counter Terrorism Act, all prison governors have a duty to prevent extremist radicalisation taking place within their walls. To find out more about the Counter Terrorism Act and its impact on prisons, click here.

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Revealed this week 

  1. Suspected prison murders at highest level since records began. The Guardian reports that following the death of a man found beaten in his cell on Wednesday morning, suspected homicides are at the highest in at least 37 years. Read more here.
  2. Scotland’s most dangerous prison revealed. New figures show that officers are called in to investigate crime at HMP Edinburgh almost every day, with more than 1,000 offences occurring in just three years. The Scotsman has more.
  3. Homesick prisoners could be given iPads to keep in touch with family while behind bars under plans being considered by the government, reports the Daily Mail. Michael Gove’s prison reforms have this week been hailed as “risky” by the Telegraph and dangerous by The Sun – referring to Gove’s aim to reduce the size of the prison population by releasing prisoners early. Need to know more about Gove’s plans for UK prisons? Click here.
  4. A prison officer who raised concerns about violence in her jail challenges her dismissal. Kim Lennon was dismissed from HMP Lewes after she claimed her concerns about overcrowding and violence were not acted upon. The Guardian has more.

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Transgender and behind bars

Following last week’s news that a second transgender woman was found dead just weeks after the suspected suicide of Vicky Thompson, former prisoner Tara Hudson has revealed that she “feared being raped” when she was sent to an all-male prison.

The 26-year-old (who has lived as a woman for over a decade) was transferred from HMP Bristol to HMP Eastwood Park – an all-female jail – after 150,000 people called for her move. The BBC has more.

Charlie Kiss, who was imprisoned in two women’s prisons in the 1980s before he transitioned to male, tells The Guardian that the government’s current approach to trans prisoners is “lax and callous“.

He says the government should recognise that trans people are at a much higher risk of abuse and self-harm and offer special care without isolation. He suggests that perhaps a unisex facility is the answer. Read more here.

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In other news  

A Medieval castle rivalling the size of the Tower of London discovered beneath a prison basketball court. Archaeologists unearthed the “tower keep” – which is thought to date back to 1110 – in the grounds of the abandoned HMP Gloucester, which closed in 2013. The Daily Mail has the story.

 

Feeling festive: A criminal pleads to be let out of prison for Christmas this year as he’s forgotten what Turkey tastes likeThe Grimsby Telegraph has the story.

 

 


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