Prisons in the press – 18 November

Prison officer strikes and fish & chip suppers

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... Image: sstrieu

An investigation has been launched after images emerged of inmates tucking into takeaways Image: sstrieu

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

Justice secretary under pressure from Gove to cut prison population. Liz Truss’s predecessor says she should use her powers to release 500 prisoners serving sentences for public protection. The Guardian has more.

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Revealed this week

  1. Justice Secretary Liz Truss will restart talks with the prison officers’ union later amid claims the service in England and Wales is “in meltdown”. On Tuesday, up to 10,000 prison officers in England and Wales stopped work claims of a “surge in violence” among inmates. The BBC has more.
  2. Prison nurse loses an eye after prisoner he was treating fractured his eye-socket when he landed a single vicious punch. The healthcare worker was set upon at Cookham Wood Young Offenders’ Institute, in Borstal, near Rochester, Kent. The Sun has more.
  3. The Clink Charity’s prison restaurant scheme reduces re-offending, Ministry of Justice Lab report finds. Preparing food at an innovative charity restaurant chain pioneered at HMP High Down makes prisoners less likely to re-offend. Your Local Guardian has the story.

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The prisons that hit the headlines   

  1. Charity slams “desperate” punishments at Lewes Prison. More than 1,915 days of additional imprisonment were added to inmates’ sentences at Lewes Prison last year, a report by a leading Prisons Charity has revealed. The Sussex Express has the story. 
  2. Calls for prison reform after latest suspected suicide at Maghaberry jail. Life sentence prisoner Barry Cavan, from the New Lodge area of north Belfast, died in the high-security jail on Tuesday evening. The Irish News has the story.
  3. An investigation has been launched after pictures of inmates with smuggled steaks and fish and chip takeaways were posted online. The photographs seem to have been taken on an illegally-possessed mobile phone inside HMP Guys Marsh near Shaftesbury. The BBC has more.

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In context

The UK justice secretary, Liz Truss, has come under severe pressure from her predecessor Michael Gove, and the chief inspector of prisons to take urgent action to cut the prison population.

Gove said her power of “executive clemency” should be used to release 500 prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have already served more than the usual maximum sentences for their offences.

liz truss female lord high chancellor

Liz Truss: First female Lord High Chancellor. Image: Number 10

Gove’s backing for action on IPP prisoners was made in the 2016 Longford lecture as part of a U-turn on his refusal in office to cut the record 86,000 prison population, which he now says should be reduced over time and pragmatically.

“It is an inconvenient truth – which I swerved to an extent while office – that we send too many people to prison. And of those who deserve to be in custody, many, but certainly not all, are sent there for too long,” he said.

The Guardian has the full story.

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In other news

Cheeky former convicts are leaving hilarious TripAdvisor style reviews of Dartmoor prison on Facebook. Overall, Dartmoor got four stars but, if the reviews are to be believed, the imposing moorland prison also got a series of one-star ratings and poor comments. The Plymouth Herald has the story. 

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