Prisons in the press – 22 April

Football coaching, phone smuggling and a novel idea for your free time…

women in prison handcuffs

Demand: Calls for women’s prison population to be scrapped in Scotland. Photograph: Steven Depolo

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

Illegal workers found on Wrexham prison construction site. Immigration enforcement officers raided the site of the new £212m Berwyn Prison in Wrexham on Friday. The Daily Post has more.


Revealed this week

  1. Preachers found to be distributing extremist, homophobic and misogynistic literature. Muslim preachers appointed by the Ministry of Justice are routinely distributing extremist literature in British prisons, a leaked report has revealed. Extremist pamphlets and CDs were found in 10 UK prisons. MailOnline has more.
  2. A mobile phone designed to be smuggled into prisons is being sold online. ITV reports Amazon is selling a phone called “Beat the Boss” – designed to outwit the “Boss” chair, or body orifice security scanner, used by prisons when admitting a prisoner. Read the story here.
  3. Transgender woman “raped 2,000 times” in all-male prison. The woman, known only by her pseudonym, Mary, was imprisoned for four years after stealing a car and has spoken of her “hell on earth”. The Independent has more.
  4. Prisoners’ rooftop protest over smoking ban in jails. Three prisoners gained access to the roof of Swansea prison on Sunday and spent hours on the roof as they were furious about being banned from smoking. WalesOnline has the story.
  5. Football hard man to train prison teams. The ex-England star Stuart Pearce is touring notorious nicks putting sides behind bars through their paces. The Daily Star has more.
  6. Integration plan for Doncaster open prison. Community leaders frustrated at the number of prisoners absconding from a Doncaster prison are working on plans to help integrate offenders back into society. The Thorne and District Gazette has the story.
  7. Chelmsford prison plea to neighbours to fight contraband. The jail has written to people who live nearby asking them to help stop packets of “illicit articles” being thrown over the jail walls. The BBC has more.


News in context: …

Number of women in prison in Scotland should be capped at 100 a women’s group has urged.

Women for Independence have also called on the next Scottish government to take jail “off the menu for the lower courts,” the National reported.

The women’s prison population has been subject of much debate in recent time, with many charities and MPs calling for it to do be reduced to only the most serious offenders.

Research shows that women in prison tend to have committed non-violent offences, been coerced into crime by their partner and first been victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse.

Read out post about who the women in prison are and how they got there

In other news 

Would you volunteer to spend some of your free time in jail? Kirkham Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) is hoping to recruit volunteers with a difference.

“It’s different maybe, but totally absorbing,” said Maria Desmond, chair of Kirkham IMB. Find out more here.

WalesOnline reported on another kind of prison volunteering this week. Tasting prisoners’ meals, arranging phone calls, overseeing the introduction of the smoking ban are just some of the jobs they can be expected to do.

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