Friday, 29 October 2010

Young Offenders

I heard two stories recently about the way that offenders are treated. The first was about a young offenders' unit (not in Lancaster) that had naughty boys continuously kicking expensive doors that then had to be replaced. This person, who worked there from time to time, also told me that it looked like they could do anything they wanted. I have actually been told by a prison officer many years ago that prisoners had to have television in their rooms and all sorts of recreational activities.

The second story was about the Manchester Police Museum. I haven't been there but I may put it on my list of things to do. It is not that long ago when prisoners had to sleep on wood. I have been around Lancaster Castle and I have also seen the cells in Lancaster Town Hall - there used to be a court there. These cells didn't have the luxury of wood to sleep on.

Times change but if prisoners can't look after the things they are given then how many times should they be given them again. It is a little like the benefits blog on Wednesday. Jane wrote comments with the view that we have to look after the needy. My view was that we need to have incentives in order to work rather than take up benefits. I know Jane thinks I am a reader of the Daily Mail (I'm not) but I think the tide is turning against prisoners having luxury upon luxury and against benefits being more lucrative than work.

Change the world


  1. How is giving "prisoners" a luxury right?
    Back when I was at my primary scvhool...I remember visiting the local "large" Police station...the cells were very basic...perhaps "today's punishment" is not severe enough?
    After all....balanced against no employment prospects...etc..perhaps being "locked up" is attractive?
    Not to my kids...but I can see the potential appeal

  2. Michael,could you have a look at the book written by David Ramsbotham, the former Chief Inspector of Prisons. I would welcome your comments on what he hes to say.

    The book is called Prisongate.

    The treatment of young offenders is covered.

  3. I have spoken with a policeman who told me a moving story of a man who wanted to be locked up for Christmas. The police did everything they could to stop this happeneing. They kept letting him off until he got a really heavy stone and smashed a police station window. There is a definite potential appeal Sea.

  4. Thanks for your comment Edis. There was a programme on Channel 4 this evening which gave the impression that prisoners had an easy life. For some this is bound to be the case. They have a regimented life so they don't have to think too hard and they get a bed and meals and entertainment.

    I have glanced at comments about Prisongate. If you look for limitations in any organisation you will find them. How we view isolation is up to the individual. For some it is a punishment and for others it is an opportunity.

    Over the years I may have spoken with a dozen or so prison officers and they all told me that prisoners were well provided for. Most of them openly gave me their view that there should be a greater element of punishment.

    I have played rugby twice behind bars (on the visiting team)and I was paying for the game which was being given to the opposition team. My limited experience was confirmed by someone recently who has worked behind bars. He saw offenders playing for hours on end with their electronic games. Something is definitely not right.