I was thinking today that some people reading this blog may think that I am, in some way, glorifying prison. I can assure people I am not. Prison is harsh, I do not expect any sympathy for that comment and rightly so. I would like to point out at this stage, unlike what the Daily Mail, that prison is not full of only murderers, rapists, terrorists and paedophiles. There are a hell of a lot of people in prison that do not deserve to be there, either due to their mental health or because of short sentences, sentences that would be better off served as a community punishment. In fact The Prison Reform Trust  published figures showing that 94% of a 1,000 people polled said that people who commit theft or vandalism should do unpaid community work as part of their sentence. Court ordered community sentences are more effective by 8.3% at reducing one-year proven re-offending rates than custodial sentences of less than 12 months for similar offenders. (The Prison Reform Trust, 2013)

Lets dispel a few miffs, dropping the soap in the shower is not a prison past time, we don’t all have Sky TV, you may have heard about prisoners having Ipads, for one they are not Ipads, and they are used for the benefit of the prison. They are used to fill out weekly food menus, applications, canteen forms and pin phone credit, these provisions would usually be undertaken by staff. Most guys in jail want the opportunity to turn their lives around and a lot of the disturbances are because of that reason, they blame spice though, you may find this hard to believe but in some jails at the moment it is easier to get spice than it is a toilet roll, bad enough you have to take a shit in front of a stranger in a 12 by 8 room with no privacy save your pad mate closing his eyes (and nostrils). Yeah its an issue in jail but drugs have been an issue in jail for as long as I can remember.

Even the situation with prisoner’s right to vote, when you are sent to prison you lose your civil liberty not your civil right and voting is a civil right. However, lets look at this closely, the prison population in the UK is 86,185 as of 3/11/2017, if you take off all those that are not eligible to vote and those that won’t or don’t want to vote, considering the turnout for the General Election earlier in the year was only 68.7% or just under 49 million, you can start to get a clearer picture of the actual numbers we are talking about. I would hazard an educated guess around 20-25,000 would vote, bearing in mind that’s split around all the different areas of the UK, personally can’t see what difference it makes anyway. What it does do however is provide the ministry of justice with another smoke screen hiding what is failing in our prisons.

We need prisons, I deserved to go to prison, not once have I gone to prison for something I didn’t do. However, we need prisons that are fit for purpose, that are providing people with opportunities to turn their lives around, provide real employment opportunities but most important make sure that people have got accommodation on release, those are the real issues. The following is from a report by the Prison Reform Trust:

Six in 10 women do not have homes to go to on release from prison.

Home truths: housing for women in the criminal justice system, says that the failure to solve a chronic shortage of suitable housing options for women who offend leads to more crime, more victims and more unnecessary and expensive imprisonment.

6,700 women were released from prison in England and Wales in the year to March 2016.

Without stable housing, it is harder for women to engage in employment and training, access support services, re-establish contact with children and families, and integrate successfully into the community. Inadequate provision of appropriate and safe accommodation increases the risk of re-offending.

It’s just as bad for men as well.

For far too long the public have been duped, by the government, the ministry of justice and the media. They have conspired in the propaganda that surrounds our prison system to hide the fact that they are failing, you, the public in protecting you. People have been committing crime since day dot and will continue to do so, it’s the re-offending rates that need to be questioned. In 1993 the prison population was 44,246 by 2013 it had nearly doubled to over 86,000, I know the population of the UK didn’t double in that time.

We have to, as a society, work together to get our prison numbers down. To do this instead of reading or listening to the propaganda, question it!!!

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