Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Hello PFV. I would like to repeat a thank you too for giving prisoners families the opportunity to share their stories, so a big thank you. Your blog is fabulous!
My daughter got in to trouble a few years ago when she was 18. She is now 21 and is on the straight and narrow. She was on a probation order and what I would like to comment on is how in heaven's name do the Government think that putting some of those youths who have rioted and looted ( in the UK ) on a probation order will actually achieve something, if anything at all?
My daughter was on probation, and no offence to those who do a probation officers job, but it was a utter waste of time for her. She couldn't stand her probation officer and they just did not get on. She only turned up because the courts said she had to. So good luck to the Government if they honestly think that these probation orders will work, because I can't see it in the memory of man!
This is Ashton Kutcher’s palace on wheels. It costs $8,750 a week. The luxury vehicle weighs 30 tons, has seven 60” plasma screens distributed among its two stories, and is 53 feet long.
Comment: I hope the plasma screens didn't come from the London riots!
The Government, or should I requote, the useless Government, couldn't give a toss about the hundreds and thousands of innocent children that go through HM Prison's doors to visit their family members. Many of the general public would more than likely say 'tough' and they shouldn't have gotten themselves in to prison in the first place. That's true and I won't argue with that. But if you are one of them, then step back and think about the innocent people that visit. Especially the children who are put in to this situation through no fault of their own.
Giving criminal sentences to children arrested in the riots, when they have behaved uncharacteristically and have shown remorse, is "savage" Martin Narey, the former head of the Prison Service and Barnardo's, has said.
Speaking on the Today programme, he said that one of the "central elements" of British justice is that first time offenders are given "a chance".
CLICK HERE for full story
Monday, 15 August 2011
It is unlawful for the government to issue a directive to magistrates to jail everyone involved in the rioting and looting. Therefore, Novello Noades, chair of the bench at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court should resign for believing that such guidance issued by a government department is the law of the land.
Whilst I don't have a problem with "Daniel Anderson, 25, was jailed for six months after admitting to hoarding two looted guitars, an amplifier, flatscreen TV and hair clippers that were stolen from Rock Bottom music store in Croydon".
To give somebody else 6 months for stealing bottled water is ludicrous!
Each case must be dealt with on a case by case basis, and not follow a dictat from Number Ten.
CLICK HERE and visit Jailhouse Lawyers Blog
Sunday, 14 August 2011
Rooftop Sunbathing - By Prisoner Ben Gunn - HMP Erlestoke
What was lining up to be a dull, irritating day was brought alive by the appearance of a rooftop protester above my head. Cue lots of staff activity, the deployment of negotiators and then the riot squad.
My keen eyes and ears absorbed everything. Ringside seats to such events and the tactics employed by the Prison Service are uncommon events.
The man on the roof - let's call him George - was frustrated because despite banging on about his accommodation on release for 5 years, is still forced into being homeless when he is released next month.
It is uncontested that housing plays a huge role in the likelihood of re-offending, and his concerns should have been listened to and a solution found. Instead, he was neglected and frustrated. Up the wall he went, to try to get someone to listen to him.
The negotiators were bumbling, truly pathetic, and only served to pass the time until the riot squad were ready to force the issue.
Seven hours, dozens of staff, the prison shut down, and the need for specialist riot staff.
What a waste, when the issue could have been resolved in minutes. The governor should have dragged George's offender supervisor below the eaves and asked him to explain the efforts made to house George on release. And if the O.S had been negligent, begin dismissal proceedings against him.
But the prison service just isn't like that. They can admit no wrong and so George will probably spend his last few weeks in chokey, before being decanted homeless to live on a street near you.
There are days when we should all feel ashamed of our criminal justice system...
Visit Ben's Prison Blog and CLICK HERE
OK, now I know that certain prison's in the UK had changed some of their visiting times, but this sign at a prison I visited today just takes the mickey! What the bloodyhell are they playing at?
By A Very Angry Prison Widow UK!
I am pleased Anon ( above link ) has brought up the subject regarding the riots and the consequences involved for those who took place in them. I hope there are politicians reading my words and what I am about to say. Since the riots, everyone has had their two pence and their say, namely MP's and those who have been out of touch with society for years. I am a mother, a decent mother of four children. One of my sons is currently in a young offenders institute. My other three children are upstanding citizens and work full time. If my son was involved in those riots ( which he wasn't because he is in prison ) would it be fair that I loose my home because of his actions? Read what I have just said, I have three other children who work damn hard and have never been in trouble with the law. Neither have I. Another thing too. The Government are targeting social housing. Not everyone who lives in social housing are thugs. There are decent families living in those properties. What happens if a looter has been caught whose parents live in their own houses? Are the mortgage people going to evict them too? Will the building societies evict their customers? Because come on, what's good for one, is good for another! David Cameron is nothing but a silver spoon fed toff who hasn't got a clue about today's society, yet runs the country. Theresa May? She's another one. Maybe she should spend a large amount of her time talking to young offenders and prisoners who think the UK establishments are bloody great! The guy who is locked up with my son purposely gets himself arrested because his parents are good for nothing and he says that he is BETTER OFF in prison. Eric Pickles statement about the masked youths interviewed for Sky News. Mr Pickles claims those youths repeated things from their social workers about the economic climate? Social Workers haven't got the intelligence to discuss those issues with any youths let me tell you! I Live in council property and if I was being evicted for my sons actions, the council and Government would be facing legal action because I would call upon mortgage companies and the lot of them to do the same! I wholly agree with, Anon's, post and fingers crossed my numbers come up on the lottery one day because I would be up and off away from the crumbling UK!
I would like to add my comments, if I may, to those who have commented on the riots.In my opinion, they were not riots but organised burglaries and arson by criminals. We keep hearing the term ‘young person’ in relation to the thugs but if we look at the mug shots many were far from being youngsters, and most should have known better.I don’t think any attempt to evict the parents of children caught thieving will stand up in court; this is not only ‘double jeopardy’ but disproportionate since the parents have not been convicted of any crime, and in some cases have ‘turned-in’ errant children.The burglary, thieving and arson has nothing to do with people being poor as is amply demonstrated by some of those convicted. Poverty has never been, and never will be, an excuse for such criminal behaviour.
As for what was stolen: Mobile phones will either be useless or allow the thief to be tracked. All phones have an IMIE number which the retailers will be able to supply to police so every stolen phone can be identified. If somebody buys something they could reasonably expect to have been stolen then they have committed an offence. Many games machines need to log in to Sony or Microsoft – all these machines have unique ID numbers, as does software and games. The IDs of stolen games and software will be known to the companies and the police – log in and you are likely to get a knock at the door.Computers all have unique ID which can be interrogated when the machine is used on the internet. The ID of all stolen computers will be known to companies, and, again, is likely to be passed to Police. Any TV with Internet access or BBC IPlayer can, again, be traced.What can the thieves do with their booty. Put it on Ebay; maybe but the police will be monitoring that for sure.
In my area there are 100s of CCTV cameras and these could be used to back-track or follow burglars and arsonists to points where they remove their mask or get into cars. Many CCTV systems now have face recognition.One final thought. If there is a gang of 10, and one commits arson or another serious offence, under the Joint Enterprise Law they can all be charged with arson. Arson, carries a very long sentence and where it endangers life it is a Life Sentence.Hundreds of people will now have criminal records; they may not care now but when it comes to trying to get work, borrowing money or getting insurance they will suddenly find they do have something to regret.Finally, maybe prison is not the best approach for the more minor breaches. Strong Community Service, confiscation of property and the requirement to pay for damage and thefts might be a more constructive approach.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
RE: Above Link
For many children of prisoners, maintaining contact with a parent in prison is difficult. This can be due to a number of factors. Some families cannot afford to visit frequently because their loved one is imprisoned miles away from home. Others have transport issues and basically the list goes on. When children and family members struggle to maintain ties with a loved one in prison, the release of that loved one is a very stressful event to look forward too. Children age, as do we the adults. Our attitude to life changes along the way too, as does the prisoners. As a family, we all become detached from one another because prison is designed to fracture relationships and in some cases, that fracture grows weaker and fails to heal. My ex partner served quite a long time in prison. He was moved around the country and so were me and our children. The travelling and the whole situation became too stressful and we parted. We parted on good terms though and he actually came to stay with us when he was released from prison. He was a total stranger to us. Prison had crippled him emotionally and he wasn't the same person. Our children couldn't relate to him anymore and it was soul destroying for all of us. I hear so many prisoners families say, " We can pick up where we left off." I agree that for those serving short sentences, this can be achieved. But for those families who are serving long, drawn out, sentences, the story is quite different. I know some strong individuals who indeed stand by their family member in prison. I myself did for quite some time. For families to rebuild their lifes after a prison sentence is served, the system needs to make sure that these families can actually achieve maintaining ties. They need to remove the hurdles that The Prison Service purposely put in their way making it hard for families to maintain contact. If the Government firmly believe that maintaining family ties can reduce re-offending, then they need to wake up and smell the coffee, because release from prison actually destroys hundreds of families.
My sister's partner has recently been released from prison after serving a 7 year sentence. What bothers me is that every time I go round and visit, they are often arguing and it appears that prison really has broken up their family bond. According to my sister, major problems have arisen since he's been home because of knock back after knock back when applying for jobs. The Prison Service along with the Government and probation service need to get real when advising prisoners. My sister says that sometimes it gets that bad that she actually wishes he was back in prison. I know she doesn't mean it but there is an atmosphere in the house and their daughter is feeling it. She is only 6 and for 3 and a half years, her Dad has been out of her life. He must feel a stranger to her and whilst having her Mum all to herself and being in that single parent environment for over 3 years, it is about time the Government put some kind of services in to place for those who are affected by imprisonment and lets not forget, affected also by release from prison. Most organisations tend to concentrate on the imprisonment issue. Yes, that is important, but prison release is more important because somehow and in some way, these family ties need to be built on outside the walls as well as inside them. I have supported my sister through this prison sentence and I now take a huge interest in how children and families are affected by it. Thanks too for providing this brilliant service which I found in Inside Time prison newspaper.
Case study one...
HIV expert jailed for keeping woman as slave in London flat
Rebecca Balira sentenced to six months and ordered to pay 21-year-old Methodia Mathias £3,000 in compensation
Case study two...
London riots: Lidl water thief jailed for six months
A college student with no criminal record was jailed for six months on Thursday for stealing a £3.50 case of bottled water during a night of rioting.
CLICK HERE and visit Jailhouse Lawyers Blog
Friday, 12 August 2011
The prison population in England and Wales has reached a record high - up 440 since riots hit parts of the UK.
There are now 85,324 prison inmates, with less than 2,000 places spare.
But the government says there is still room for anyone jailed in relation to the rioting and disorder in England since last Saturday.
CLICK HERE for full story. Source BBC News
Like the Partner of A Prisoner (Govt. are out of touch) I am astounded by the lack of any sort of reasoning when it comes to this Governments attitude towards the recent riots. They have been warned for months that their determination to cut, cut, cut would lead to this very thing!!
Now their answer is to lock em up, deny benefits and evict them from their homes!! Absolutely no mention of trying to address the social issues which have created the 'thug'. No admittance that when they cut funding to youth centres, support platforms, mentoring projects, legal aid and the like, affected the poorest, most socially isolated members of our society.
Yet how much money (we don't have) is being poured into the banks? Billions!! That money would have been far better spent creating jobs, legislation that would see the return of the apprenticeship, in the way it was supposed to work, investing in the young, poorest and most disadvantaged in the Land would make far more sense to me than supporting a bunch of fat cats, interested only in furthering their own interests.
One of the saddest things for me to realise is that the stupid, senseless acts of burning and looting has unfortunately played right into the hands of Cameron and his cronies. All it has achieved is to give this Govt. the mandate to introduce more repressive laws. If you think 'stop and search' is bad, wait and see what they will come up with next!!.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
This was built for Expo ’86 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a McDonald’s restaurant that was built on a barge. It’s first floating McDonald’s anywhere in the world. While the barge was permitted to operate in a new location after the exhibition, the derelict barge has been anchored empty in Burrard Inlet, among an oil refinery and industrial barges since 1991.
Furious Family Member Of Prisoner
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Maybe his 6 months left will be increased, I don't know, but if David Cameron thinks justice is done for half of the rioters in the UK by sending them to prison, then he is nothing but a bloody joke. These politicians live on a different planet!
The treatment of inmates at Wandsworth Prison in London was "demeaning, unsafe and fell below what could be classed as decent", a report says.
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said he "did not detect sufficient willingness" in the prison to acknowledge and address concerns.
The report says conditions were significantly worse than in June 2009.
The National Offender Management Service said a "robust action plan" was in place.
Mr Hardwick's report followed an unannounced inspection of the prison between 28 February and 4 March which was undertaken because a previous inspection - in June 2009 - had been marred by an attempt to subvert the process by moving "difficult" prisoners between Wandsworth and Pentonville so that they were not present in either prison during the inspection.
Written on behalf of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales, the report says prisoner safety was now a "matter of serious concern".
CLICK HERE for the full report - source BBC NEWS
Cameron and this Government need to clean up their own back yard before hob nobbing with other countries. If you don't like Cameron and his Conservative crew - vote them out!
The anonymous Mum who contributed the post about Children suffering because of their parents (Click Here to read the full story) is absolutely right when she says "Britain is broken".
How typical of the police and government to jump on the 'where are their parents' bandwagon. Yes, I agree, we are all responsible for our children but with budgets cuts targeting the poorest in our society just how are we supposed to do that? The terrible story on Bolton Social Services, experienced by our very own Prizon Widow is just one example of the underlying reasons for all the riots and unrest in the UK over the past few days
No one cares....not at a level that anything can be done about it anyway, our Prison 'Service' is not fit for purpose in many, many cases, the current unrest at Feltham Young Offenders Institute and the damning report about HMP Wandsworth (click on the highlight link to read it, or better still pop over to jailhouselawyers blog for his take on it) only reinforces my belief that the whole Criminal Justice System in this country needs a total overhaul. We need an honest open debate on the whole future of our Prisons without it being hi jacked by those who believe that prison is for punishment and nothing else.
Please don't think I am in any way, condoning the actions of the thugs who took over our streets, I am not. I don't for a minute think that their actions have in any way advanced the cause for an opportunity to vent the frustrations felt by many over the current problems within our society. In fact, the morons who were involved with the looting, mindless destruction, and burning, of mainly local businesses have played right into this government's hands.......now they can pass all the laws needed to prevent genuine peaceful protest by those of us who seek change.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
My partner's crime as made me and son targets. Targets for something we haven't done and targets because my partner committed a stupid crime. He is in prison were he belongs but whilst he is in prison, it is me and my son who are taking the flack from the community. I wish the general public would wake up and realise that prisoners families and children are innocent people too. My son has regular nightmares and to get him to school is a nightmare because he kicks and screams every morning. Prisoners families are often seen as, gulity by association. Not only by the public but the Police too. I agree that there is not enough services for families in similar situations to mine. People say that the real victims of crime are the victims of crime, but sometimes, prisoners families end up being victims of crime too whilst their loved ones are safe and locked up in prison.
By Anonymous Partner Of A Prisoner
“They are humans’ closest relative, sharing a similar genetic make-up and displaying behaviour not unlike our own. Now this little chimpanzee is showing off a motherly instinct to rival even the most maternal of mankind. These adorable images reveal the close bond that has formed between a two-year-old chimpanzee called Do Do and a two-month-old tiger cub called Aorn. Completely at ease in each other’s company, the ape’s motherly instincts take over as she attentively bottle feeds the baby tiger. Aorn gratefully laps up the milk as Do Do tenderly holds the tiger in her arms. At one point, Do Do puts the bottle in her own mouth – almost mimicking the actions of a human mother checking to see if the milk is suitable for her offspring to consume.”
My husband is in prison and will be released in 2013. I have two children, young in age, who haven't a clue why their Dad is in prison. They are innocent human beings who are telling all their school friends that their Dad is locked up in prison. They tell the shop keepers and checkout girls at the supermarket and it destroys me. They aren't bragging about it, far from it, because as their Mum, I have told them that their daddy has broken the law and has to go away for a while. I have had to sell our house because since my husband has been in prison, I have not been able financially to afford the mortgage on my own. We are now on the council housing list.
My eldest, my daughter, cries all the way home after a prison visit. My son is younger and he doesn't really understand why his dad has gone to prison. I too am disgusted that when I asked for help from the social services department for a bit of support, they told me that they couldn't provide any because my children were well looked after. So where do families with children turn too? Prisoners children do not belong in any category. But they should! I usually get the same old opinions from those who do not understand which is - well their Dad shouldn't have committed a crime! I for one know that, I don't need telling the obvious, but innocent children need support and lots of parents aren't receiving any.
On the face of it, Shepton and Erlestoke are the same - both are category C training prisons, both lying about how much attention they pay to our welfare and rehabilitation.
Yet here I sit in my cell on a sunny Saturday, bored. At Shepton I'd be able to take myself off to the yard or pay a social visit to other wings. Here, though, such freedoms are controlled far more pettily.
What factors determine the differences between two seemingly similar prisons? Both rest on the bedrock that is the national core regime. Both labour under national profiles and performance targets. And yet both prisons seem to have a completely different ethos and culture, which often expresses itself in ways that our keepers fail to appreciate.
Shepton, for all it varied problems, is actually ranked as the second best performing prison in the country. Erlestoke is so far down the performance table that only miners have seen that depth. Managerially merging these prisons with Erlestoke in charge may seem a tad stupid then. But that's what they are doing.
BEN'S PRISON BLOG
My son is in prison. I am currently looking after his little girl because of his actions. What disgusts me is that he doesn't seem remorseful or bothered because he has told me that prison is OK and he will soon be home. Prison is not OK. It isn't OK for the thousands of children that are suffering because of their parents actions. Having watched the coverage on, Sky News, of the riots in London and other areas of the UK, I am disgusted, however not surprised. Thugs, youths, or whatever your word is for them who are wrecking the UK, have no future. My son is in prison, but in my defence, it is not through bad parenting. I have two other son's who are in full time employment and a credit to the community. Bad parenting is to blame for some of these hooligans, there is no disputing that. Quite clearly the Police chiefs live in a different world to us by requesting all parents take their kids off the streets. Some of their parents would have been ordering goods for them to loot!!!! Every letter, every email and every phone made to the Government often falls on deaf ears. Look how many years charities have been campaigning for children affected by imprisonment? How still to this day that the likes of Social Services do NOT recognise the problems children of prisoners go through? How much funding has been slashed for youth services? The country, the UK is a broken country and the Government need to fix it pretty quick sharp. If voices fall on deaf ears, then sadly, and I mean sadly, youths and gangs will retaliate. The UK is abysmal!
From Mum of an offender
Monday, 8 August 2011
Tiddles seems to be enjoying his retirement immensely, but it looks like the prison officers rather over-fed him a little too much! It was probably all those mobile phones they tried smuggling in, until the Governor realised that half of his officers were walking like, John Wayne!
You can picture the senior officer right now shouting, " Quick! Feed your Nokia to the dog!"
Anyway, three cheers for, Tiddles, the sniffer dog who retired from HMP today!
Criminals serving community sentences could face curfews of up to 16 hours a day under new government proposals.
Currently offenders in England and Wales cannot be confined to their homes for more than eight hours a day.
The proposals would also extend the period over which a curfew could be imposed from six months to a year and allow their hours to be varied.
Minister for Prisons and Probation Crispin Blunt said the plans would keep offenders off the street for longer
"These tougher curfew conditions will keep offenders off the street for longer, stop them socialising in the evenings and keep them away from situations that could land them in trouble again," Mr Blunt said in a statement.
CLICK HERE for the full story over at BBC NEWS