January 27, 2020
Comment from the Chief Executive
I am looking at the Government’s proposal to increase sentences for violent behaviour.
The Government are also proposing that two thirds of a sentence must be served in certain instances.
Good, on the surface, and what the public want. However…
I would ask, is this because of pressure from the public? some kind of popular statement, a vote winner, a barn door closure? Has it been thought through? Have they consulted with the people on the shop floor? The people that work in the prisons. The people who see close-up, what the problems are, and more importantly what the solutions are.
Prison officers and governors, quite rightly, have no say in the sentence given to prisoners. They have to “bang ‘em up” and hope that with the little resources they have, they can steer the prisoner, or “resident”, or “guest”, back to normality and a life, free of crime.
I believe, after five years of running Care after Combat, that the guys at the front, the governors should have more input.
It is crazy to not listen to the men and women who do the job. They are dedicated people who see things that can be improved and things that do not work at all.
It is my opinion (big deal) and one shared by a lot of colleagues in the criminal justice system that the governing governor and other prison governors should have a say.
I do agree with the government and most of the public that an automatic release, be it half a sentence or three quarters of a sentence is a bit daft. The prisoners should earn that privilege. This is of course will be judged by the parole board and probation, but the governor should have the right to increase that sentence or decrease the extra time given depending on the behaviour of the prisoner concerned.
I see a lot on Twitter… “Life should mean life” okay, I get that. But, who will then look after and protect the other prisoners not on a life sentence? If you have killed someone and life means life, then you might as well go kill some more… what’s to stop you, what’s the deterrent?
Prisoners who are sentenced to an IPP ( public protection) have an un-ended prison term. They have no hope. I know some of these guys… it is like talking to a person who is doomed to a life with no purpose. a Zombie.
IPP’s have now been scrapped, but the people who were sentenced to an IPP before they were scrapped are still serving this cruel and useless sentence.
How can you rehabilitate someone who is dead behind the eyes?
We are lucky that we work with veterans. we know about them and what to do However, it goes without saying that I bump into a lot of non veteran prisoners behind the wire.
I met a guy, a few times, that looks as if he came from central casting for a Samuel L Jackson lookalike. Here’s been imprisoned the 29 years. He has two degrees from the open university. We talk quite a bit. He is ready to come out… in his words… “that’s me done”. I hope that someone sees in this guy what I see in him. A man that has grown up and proof that rehabilitation works….
So what do we do with him Twitter people?
What does giving someone a prison service achieve?
Removing him from the public?….yes
A chance to educate rehabilitate?….. hope so
Michael Gove was correct in his statement.. “prisons should not be warehouses full of people”
I believe the prisons are full of good men who have done bad things… and women of course.
Let’s try and get them out as soon as possible in the sure belief that the public are safe and that they will not reoffend.
Some of course should be locked up forever. But I wish I can take all of you inside prison. I would like you to meet our veterans. you will feel like I do… hopefully.
“We sent them, we must deal with the consequences on their return”.
- Dr Nick Murdoch
“Some veterans are still fighting…for their lives”
- Simon Weston