Prisons in the press – 13 May

Call to cut jail populations and the milkshakes keeping youngsters out of the prison yard 

... Image: Paul Istoan

Ex-prisoner opens milkshake bar to deter people from following a life of crime. Image: Paul Istoan

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

Inmate numbers “must fall” for Government prison reforms to work. Lord Ramsbotham said 30 per cent of prisoners, some 25,000 inmates, could be freed. But Justice Secretary Michael Gove has said he will not artificially “manage down” the prison population. The BBC has more.


Revealed this week

  1. Call for action to tackle lethal highs at prison. Concerns have been raised in Parliament about the “prevalent use of lethal highs” at HMP Northumberland, with fears that they are leading to increased violence at the jail. The Northumberland Gazette has the story.
  2. Government apologises over Birmingham prison “suicide” mix-up. A family who say there were wrongly told their son had killed himself in HMP Birmingham got a call informing them of his death earlier this month, only to be called back in 30 minutes to be told he was alive. The BBC has more.
  3. Prison drugs mule claimed she was trying to protect inmate boyfriend from attack. Donna Cluskey was jailed for nearly four years after taking cocaine, heroin and cannabis into HMP Kennet in Maghull. The Liverpool Echo has the story.
  4. Wormwood Scrubs prison staff walk out over safety concerns. Inmates locked down and visits cancelled as union says west London jail is “flooded with drugs and weapons”. The Guardian has more.
  5. Shropshire prison battling against mobile phones. More than 100 prisoners have been caught with a mobile phone at Stoke Heath prison in the past year. The Shropshire Star has more.


New prisons

  1. Newest Scottish prison in Peterhead is “doing well but can improve”. HMP Grampian, which was shaken by a riot just months after opening in 2014, is reported to be doing well. The BBC has more.
  2. Care UK receives 18 new prison contracts. The contracts provide health services at 13 adult prisons, four young offenders’ institute and an immigration detention centre. The National Health Executive has the story.
  3. Wrexham prison build on schedule as roof is completed. There are 550 employees on site during the building of HMP Berwyn this month. The Leader has more.


News in context: Inmate numbers and Government reform

The BBC reports former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham said Government prison reforms will fail unless inmate numbers are reduced before they are put in place.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lord Ramsbotham said Justice Secretary Michael Gove “can’t possible do it (prison reforms) with the numbers as they are now.”

... Image: Policy Exchange

Michael Gove says he will not artificially “manage down” prison populations. Image: Policy Exchange

Bob Neil, Conservative chairman of the Justice Select Committee, supports Government reforms but said prisoner numbers in England and Wales needed to be cut straight away.

Yet Mr Gove has already said he will not artificially “manage down” the prison population, as the BBC reports, “believing his reforms will mean less reoffending and lower numbers over time.”

The BBC has the full story.


In other news 

Ex-prisoner opens milkshake bar in Harlesden to inspire young people. A spell in prison transformed the life of car fanatic, Prince Wasim, who has opened “Milk Sheikh” to give young people a place to go and deter them from crime. The Brent & Kilburn Times has more.

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