Friday, 29 July 2011
Yet another self harming incident at Woodhill Prison!!
Lee Foyle who had already sliced his ear off was able to do the same to his other ear while the prison governor was holding an inquiry into the first incident!!
And we are supposed to accept that 'Prison Works'??? Britain's Alcatraz obviously doesn't.
Please Click here to read the full story over at The Guardian
Saturday, 23 July 2011
How galling it must be, finally, after more than 31 years, to turn up at the open prison you have spent so long trying to get to, only to be turned away at the gate? Left in limbo in Cardiff before being sent back to where you came!! and all due to an unfortunate "admin error"?. Then in an act of desperate jubilation upon being told you were again on the move to open, you used an illegal mobile phone. Stupid or not, who can blame him in trying to let his partner know what was happening? Please continue to help support Ben, comments or messages of support can be left on either his prisonerbenblogspot.com or the Free Prisoner Ben facebook page.
I think John Hirst, the jailhouselawyer has got a valid point when he ask if it's time to abolish parole boards.
Please CLICK HERE to read his post.
Friday, 22 July 2011
The UK was complicit in CIA torture flights, under the Labour administration when first Jack Straw, and then David Miliband, were Foreign Secretary. Under the Coalition William Hague is Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. Still the UK is complicit in torture, only this time it is being committed in South Africa. Mr Cameron said: "I think it right for Britain to be engaged with South Africa and to be engaged with Africa as a whole. There is a huge opportunity for trade, for growth, for jobs, including jobs at home in the UK".
Whilst our courts are reluctant, and quite rightly so in spite ofDominic Raab's view to the contrary, to deport refugees, failed asylum seekers and foreign criminals to countries where they are likely to be tortured and killed. How can it be legally and morally right to have trade links with such countries where torture is rife? It makes me physically ill at the thought that David Cameron is prepared to turn a Nelsonian blind eye to the obvious!
The gown will be the centre piece of an exhibition about theRoyal Wedding and form part of the annual summer opening.
As well as the dress, visitors will also see some of the jewellery worn by the Duchess when she married Prince William, as well as her shoes, veil and flowers.
CLICK HERE for more! Source Sky News
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
As long term readers will recall, the last visit to the board took a year and comprised of an administrative shambles.
The portents are not good.
Parole Board publishes Annual Report and Accounts for 2010/11
Download a copy of the Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11
The Report states that Oral hearings – 3 member panels for the hearing of lifer, IPP and ESP cases costs £2,532 per case. There were 25,566 cases. That's a staggering cost of £64,733,112 to the taxpayers!
These normally take place in prison. For life sentence prisoners they will usually be chaired by a judge, but some IPP cases will be chaired by an experienced Parole Board member. Where the circumstances of the case warrant it the panel will include a psychologist or psychiatrist. The third person will be an independent or probation member.
In addition to the prisoner and the panel, others who may be present include the legal representative of the prisoner, together with a public protection advocate representing the Secretary of State and the victim, and witnesses such as the prisoner’s offender manager and prison psychologist. The victim might also be in attendance in order to present their victim personal statement.
Monday, 18 July 2011
David Oluwale was born on 8 September 1930, in Lagos, Nigeria. He belonged to the Yoruba tribe.
Local notices decree that we must not wear flip-flops whilst collecting our food, or whilst taking exercise in the grassy compound. However, wearing trainers is all okay.
But where do my sandals fit into this scheme? As sandals are not specifically mentioned, my wearing them prompts staff to engage that rarely seen attribute - initiative. Staff are not known for being independent thinkers, and in the absence of clear instructions from management there is always the danger of headless chicken syndrome.
The status of my sandals remains uncertain, and at some point I wouldn't be surprised if they became an item on a committee agenda!
Credit where credit is due.
Jim Brown's post '5 minute interview' makes for heartening reading. He and his blog Probation Matters are a great example of what probation and probationers should be. As he mentioned that there is a lot of negative stories on Prisoners Families Voices I thought it was only right to comment on the positives.
I don't always agree with Jim but have always had respect for his opinions. The failings of the probation service are numerous and varied, I hope people like Jim never stop fighting for a better way forward.
Please click on the highlighted links above to read the full article.
Things are speeding up somewhat because Ken Clarke has announced two further prison closures, HMP Latchmere House in West London and HMP Brockhill in Redditch. Latchmere is a 'Cat D' establishment with an interesting history. It was initially used in the First World War as a hospital for soldiers suffering from 'shell shock' and in the Second World War by MI5 for the interrogation of enemy agents when known as Camp 020. Brockhill is a relatively modern but run down 'Cat C' establishment.
Two prisoners have escaped from a jail van after it was ambushed by armed men on the outskirts of Manchester city centre.
A number of men attacked the van in Trinity Way at about 0830 BST, Greater Manchester Police said.
They fled in a Saab, which was later found abandoned in Barrow Street in the Islington area of Salford.
A security guard has been taken to hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
Det Sgt Paul Copplestone urged anyone with information to contact Greater Manchester Police.
He said: "We are sure that this incident was witnessed by many people at a very busy time of the morning. The Saab was driven off towards the M602 motorway.
CLICK HERE for more. BBC NEWS
Sunday, 17 July 2011
For me, answering the question "Are your parents remarried?" is a delicate matter. My dad is easy: Nope, he's a born-again bachelor since he and my mom divorced after 22 years together. My mother is not currently married, I will say carefully, but she was for several years. I might even add that she moved from California, where I grew up, to New Mexico, in order to be with her second husband. The conversation usually stops there. But sometimes I'll plunge ahead. In 1996, my mother met and later married a man incarcerated in a New Mexico state prison, an inmate who began as her pen pal and ended up as her lover.
At first, I was supportive. Which seems hard to believe. My mother's affair began very soon after my parents split and I moved away to college, and it carried a crazy whiff of romantic adventure. The universe seemed to conspire to bring them together. Joe reached her by randomly tapping a string of numbers together into an out-of-state collect phone call. She accepted the call, thinking it was one of my old boyfriends who shared the same name. He was looking for someone to write to him, since his family didn't often visit—would anybody in the household be interested? (He later admitted that he'd heard from other inmates that the collect-call routine was a good way to find women.) She volunteered for the job, and I thought her daring and fabulously unorthodox.
CLICK HERE and read more on the story!
A pointless exercise many would say and I have to agree. There's no wonder significant numbers of clients think it's a waste of time and don't turn up, thus triggering either breach or recall action. So, what's been going on, especially as it's long been known that it's the relationship between probation officer and client that is fundamental in effecting change in behaviour? Well by a handy coincidence, the explanation is contained in the latest edition of the newsletter for sentencers produced by the London Probation Trust and I'm grateful to a reader for passing it on to me. It's basically about one of the latest buz issues within the Service generally at the present time, and called 'engagement.'
Saturday, 16 July 2011
We have an excellent newpaper in prison called Inside Time. There is a link to it on this blog.
The July issue carries a front page story about Women in Prison, not a topic widely discussed in the media. Consider this:
11,000 women are received into custody each year, and two thirds of them are sentenced to custody for a period of 6 months or less.
Over 17,000 children are separated by from their mothers by imprisonment each year and only 9% of them are looked after by their fathers. This poses the question of why men find it so difficult to look after their offspring when their partner is incarcerated.
In this prison the visits room is full of women visiting their partners and bringing the kids in to visit their dad. It is a sad fact that many women in prison are deserted by their partners, unless they also are women!
Why is it that men find it so hard to stay the course? And when it costs around £56,415 a year to keep a woman in prison, why lock her up at all, given the fact that the cost to her family (children taken into care etc.) is even higher?
Friday, 15 July 2011
Thanks to Kate for her post "some probation officers couldn't manage running a tap" , she summed up most probation officers total lack of compassion or understanding when it comes to hard pressed family members struggle to be all things the service is not. It would have cost next to nothing to have let her sister know what was coming.
A lot of the trouble is that probation officers just don't get to know their 'clients', how can you truly know someone in 10-15 minutes a month?. The blame for this lies within the system and the workload they expect officers to deal with. Unless the whole system is radically overhauled and with the current cuts culture in mind, this is only going to get worse.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
It is so good to have a window large enough to allow sunlight through, and there are acres of grass and trees. So different from the dark, tarmac claustrophobia of Shepton.
There are vast swathes of bang-up; along with the controlled movement this makes me wonder if the management are afraid of disorder. They forget that central to good order is treating us decently, and that increasing control measures can itself provoke disorder.
Actor Dominic West has said playing Gloucestershire serial killer Fred West for TV has given him nightmares.
The drama is set to be broadcast on ITV and tells the story of the murderer through the eyes of a social worker who was sent to interview West in prison.
"I have this recurring dream where I'm perched on a wall and Fred West is trying to grab me and pull me down," said Dominic West.
The drama has been criticised for causing pain to the victims' families.
CLICK HERE for more on the story - source BBC NEWS
I am writing in response to the above post by Jim over at Probation Matters .
While I often agree with Jim some of his comments here are an indication of the difference between realities. His and prisoners families !!. His comment that Prisonersfamiliesvoices, "often contains worrying and uncomplimentary examples of probation involvement" is true, it does, why is that?.
In an ideal world we would all like to believe that probation officers are logical, reasonable, analytical human beings, worthy of trust, able to show some compassion, in a lot of experiences this is not the case. He comments "I can honestly say probation officers are not stupid", well that must mean they do stupid things intentionally, or is it those damn forms again? When he says "all probation officers only want to hear the truth, or honestly held opinions" I am sure there are some that do, then there are others who wouldn't know truth or reality if it shook their hand. As for trust being earned, it is a two way street, how do you continue to trust someone when they send you to a drug/alcohol infested hostel in order to rehabilitate? exclude your family from any of the decision making process, then expect to reduce re offending?
On the Prisoner Ben website there has been some wide-ranging and healthy discussion about various issues, including the role, responsibilities and effectiveness of probation. I have taken the liberty of quoting some comments and views from a recent post entitled 'World's Apart' in order to give a flavour of the discourse.
Monday, 11 July 2011
"Christmas day menu has changed and is served as breakfast and Christmas day lunch not lunch and dinner as stated".
And in July to boot!
The Law Society issued a note to its members warning they could be taking part in criminal activity by ringing the prohibited phones.
According to the guidance, some lawyers may call inmates "without realising the call is being made to an illicitly possessed telephone".
The note reads: "There is a danger that by making a call to a prisoner's unlawfully possessed mobile telephone you may be, either deliberately or inadvertently, committing a criminal offence."
The Society said the illicit possession and use of mobile telephones in prisons is becoming an increasing issue and warned solicitors not to call inmates on mobile phone numbers and to terminate any incoming calls from prisoners using mobiles.
Friday, 8 July 2011
The death of yet another teenager in A Young Offenders Institution (HMP Chelmsford) makes for bleak reading. When are the issues surrounding these deaths going to be addressed?
Please go to Children and Young People Now to get the full story.
My heartfelt sympathy to this poor boy's family.