The circumstances around the death of a 20 year old woman at Durham jail make grim reading. She had severe mental health problems from the age of 13, had continually harmed herself and taken overdoses.
As the prison population continues onwards and upwards Jack Straw et al advocate warehouse prisons overlooked by Group 4. The number of women banged up had risen the most.The staff at Durham jail were more preoccupied with Sudoko than looking after the welfare of their vulnerable charges. Young unexperienced, doubtlessly underpaid, staff.
We carry on about inhumane regimes elsewhere, but where is the human concern in New Labour’s proposal for prison in the 21st century, which capitulate totally to the “hang ’em, flog ’em” brigade?
Prison reform groups are in despair when they advocate the opposite of what’s on offer. Smaller, local prisons are called for. Large remote places smack of Siberia or the one-time practice of sending convicts to Australia. Hey, I’d better shut up otherwise they might thing of building their warehouses in the middle of the Australian desert, it’s not beyond them.