Prisons in the press – 15 January

Attacks on ex-soldiers and tougher rules on rehabilitation

rehabilitation. Image: Matthew

Rehabilitation hit the headlines twice this week with charities and prisoners voicing their concerns. Image: Matthew


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

Ex-soldiers in prison fear attacks from Islamist fanatics if their military past is revealed, a government review has warned. An attack on a former paratrooper in prison last Saturday sparked concerns that he had been deliberately targeted. The Telegraph has more.


Revealed this week

  1. Rehabilitation made harder: The Prison Reform Trust together with the Clinks organisation say volunteer charities have complained that stricter rules for letting prisoners out on temporary release hamper their ability to fill placements designed to help rehabilitation. Read more here.
  2. Northern Ireland prisoners complain: According to the Prison Service, in the space of 11 months last year, 8,848 complaints were made by prisoners at Northern Ireland’s four prison facilities. That amounts to 30 a day. The Belfast Telegraph has the full story.
  3. No rehab on fixed sentences: A court has rejected a prisoner’s bid to review rehabilitation rights for prisoners serving fixed sentences. Alex Keenan, who is currently serving a sentence of nine years, was seeking a judicial review into his right to undertake courses that would help with his rehabilitation whilst in prison – a right inmates serving indeterminate sentences are entitled to. The Herald has more.
  4. Drugs ‘easy to get’: A new report says narcotics are in plentiful supply at Hatfield Prison in Doncaster. Inspectors found there had been ten drug finds and one alcohol find in the previous six months and that ‘legal highs’ were becoming an issue at the jail. The Star has more.


A bad week in Rochester  

  1. Prisoners take drugs and watch porn from parcels thrown over prison walls. The Express reports that prison staff are accused of ignoring major security problems after it was revealed ten discoveries of contraband were made every month in HMP Rochester in Kent alone. The Express has the full story.
  2. Staff arecomplacent over drugs issue‘. A surprise report found that inmates claimed it was easy to get drugs at Rochester and that prisoners who were seen to be clearly under the influence of drugs went unchallenged. Read more here.
  3. Four G4S staff arrested following a BBC Panorama investigation into abuse at Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester. The BBC reports police said they were being held on suspicion of child neglect. Read more about the Panorama investigation here.


In other news…  

A drug-smuggling mum was caught after prison guards found pills and mobile phones taped to a prisoner’s genitals. Mum-of-four Emma Chapman has been jailed for 12 months after HMP Forest Bank staff saw her pass over a package to an inmate on CCTV. The Manchester Evening News has more.


News is context: Ex-soldiers in prison hide military past 

Former service men and women claim they are scared to declare their military backgrounds amid fears they will be targeted by Islamist fanatics in jail.

Last Saturday, former paratrooper Craig Jones was allegedly assaulted while on remand at HMP Hewell in Redditch, Worcestershire, by a gang of eight men.

The Sun reports that Mr Jones is ‘said to have suffered a fractured eye socket and sliced face in the brutal attack’. A source told The Times the gang ‘beat him to within an inch of his life‘.


hmp hewell

Former soldiers hide military past for fear of attack in prison.


A recent review for the Ministry of Justice on former military personnel in prisons found concerns among veterans of reprisals. The review found a ‘concerning trend of Islamic radicalisation amongst the prison population with a consequent risk of violence towards former service personnel’.

The outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick warned last month that Muslim extremists were recruiting inside prisons and radicalising inmates.


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