Penology by Karen Harrison

Penology by Karen Harrison

Author:Karen Harrison [Harrison, Karen]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781137607843
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Published: 2019-11-20T00:00:00+00:00

The Nelson Mandela Rules – Rule 1

All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The government’s answer to crowding is to build its way out of the problem. In March 2017 it announced plans to build four new large prisons to be sited in Port Talbot, South Wales; adjacent to HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire; and redevelopment plans at HMP/YOI Rochester, Kent and HMP/YOI Hindley, Wigan, which would have added up to 10,000 modern prison places (Ministry of Justice, 2017b). The Prison Estate Transformation Programme has been beset by problems however; not least because local residents and businesses in many of these proposed sites objected to planning applications. In 2019, focus was taken away from these locations with the construction of a new prison on the site of HMP Wellingborough (which closed in 2012). The proposed prison will be a category C resettlement prison (see Chapter 7) with the capacity for 1680 people. Another new prison is planned for the place where HMP/YOI Glen Parva used to be and a new house block is to be built at HMP Stocken (Ministry of Justice, 2019a).

A building programme is not the only answer, however, with alternatives including letting out non-dangerous prisoners and/or reducing the number that are sent to prison in the first place:

The easy answer to overcrowding is to build more prisons, but we cannot afford that. The other answer is to send fewer people to prison. Drug addicts should be rehabilitated outside prison; the mentally ill should be treated and helped within the health system. Prisons should be reserved for the dangerous, the violent and the depraved. The government has more to do than just dealing with Brexit and it should deal with our prisons urgently. (Garnier, 2017)

In Romania, for example, the government are currently considering the use of electronic monitoring in an attempt to overcome its prison crowding problem (Romania-insider.com, 2017) and Turkey has reportedly let out 38,000 ordinary criminals to free up prison space, albeit to refill it with coup plotters (France 24 International News, 2016). Northern Ireland are concentrating on using alternatives to custody and has been piloting an enhanced combination probation order of unpaid work and strict supervision which has shown a 40 per cent reduction in reoffending rates and is one tenth the cost of imprisonment (Fitzpatrick, 2017). Furthermore, in Rwanda, a more robust form of alternative sentencing has been seen which offers all offenders who have committed an offence punishable by imprisonment by up to five years, the alternative of spending time working six days a week in a work camp. Not only has this enabled a number of infrastructure projects to be completed at a fraction of the cost, it has enhanced skills and employment opportunities and has enabled the prisoners to pay back to society. Conditions in the camps have,


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