Well, Clearly The Authorities Are Doing Their Bit…

…so perhaps it’s the inmates who aren’t?

A report on the west London jail by government inspectors says that there are not enough vocational training places and that attendance is “unacceptable” for those that are on offer.

Hmmm, really? Not enough places yet attendance isn’t up to snuff? That’s pretty contradictory, isn’t it?

… Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said: “Overall, there was too little opportunity for prisoners to acquire the habits, skills and experience that might improve their prospects of getting and holding down a job.”

Strange. I mean, in the very next paragraph, we read this:

In today’s report, however, Mr Hardwick, who describes Wormwood Scrubs as “probably the most famous prison in the country”, adds that while there 440 jobs available each day for the 1,200 inmates, only three- quarters were filled.

Didn’t you read your own report, Nicky? Or did you not understand it? You see, if you build it, it appears they won’t come after all.

So, maybe the problem isn’t one we could cure by throwing ever more resources at it, and may not even be a ‘problem’ at all.

It just might be the case that these people aren’t in prison because they are good folks who society has done bad, but, well, bad folks, plain and simple. That they don’t lack opportunity to ‘acquire the skills, experience and habits’ to hold down a job, they lack the desire to do so.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s why they are in prison in the first place!

7 comments for “Well, Clearly The Authorities Are Doing Their Bit…

  1. Lord T
    November 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    How many of them are never getting out? Most people think it’s like a film of Porridge. Norman Fletcher and Gopher? Instead it’s yoofs with guns… Oh, so they are all getting out then. The reason they don’t want to go on courses is because their sentence isn’t long enough for them to finish before they are out.

    • November 29, 2011 at 5:59 am

      That’s pretty easily remedied… 😈

  2. Mad Morgan
    November 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Got a problem with attendance? Try asking the prisoners – ALL of them, on arrival – whether they would prefer ‘breaking rocks or attending a vocational course?’ One or the other, regardless of weather. No third option.

    • November 29, 2011 at 6:00 am

      Can’t do that! ‘elf n’ safety, mate! More’n my job’s worth…

  3. November 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I saw something on Cracked! the other week about prisons in Norway or Sweden (can’t remember which), and it was one of these contrasts between the cushy ‘five star resort’ prisons with every facility imaginable and those prisons in the US that are nearer The Shawshank Redemption end of the scale. The contrast was that the hellish prisons produced a very high reoffending rate – 90% or something – while for the nice prisons it was under 50%.

    That’s still a high enough rate of recidivism to make me think it’s not the whole answer, so maybe two types of prison are needed. The first would be a lot like the ones at the moment with courses and so on, but with the inclusion of some of the ideas of the Scandinavian judicial systems where they have even comfier prisons but somehow less reoffending. Prisoners who show willing can stay in these for the duration of their sentence, and if released before the course ends would be encouraged to come in on a kind of inverted day release to finish it. Prisoners who aren’t interested would eventually be transferred to the second type of prison, which would be – and there’s no nice way of putting this – like a really shit zoo but with added shower rape. Maybe you could even charge admission, or even have a safari park version round a walled off estate so people can pay to see the ferals in their natural habitat. 😈

    There might also be room for a third type. It’s been a long time since I became unwilling to trust the state with the power to execute citizens but I still recognise that there are some offenders you just don’t want ever to walk the streets again. I’ve been saying for ages that Hirta might be a place where you could dump the really hopeless cases in the expectation that few, if any, will attempt to swim 40 miles of North Atlantic to get back to the mainland (actually just one of the Outer Hebrides, but that’s being picky) and fewer still will survive it. I think that idea probably comes partly from living in a former penal colony and partly from having seen a heap of comments saying what a pity it is that Britain can’t still send all its crims here.

    • November 29, 2011 at 9:51 am

      In darker moments, AE, I sometimes wonder whether the same strategy ought to be applied to our education system.

      • November 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        Streaming with a vengeance! 😆

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