There are "serious issues" in jails across the country, the man in charge of prisons has admitted as he blamed a surge in violence on drugs.Michael Spurr was speaking to Sky News after a 12-hour riot involving up to 600 inmates at HMP Birmingham that saw staff losing control of four wings at the prison.
Michael Spurr speaks out over on Sky News (above) and blames a surge in violence on drugs. You only have to read the many posts on my blog from worried families who share their concerns - and not all emails I receive are published by the way.
I speak highly of Michael and times when I have emailed him, he has always got back to me and has been more than helpful.
Let us get one thing straight here, when you see or read articles about prisoners families and come across advice preparing you for your first prison visit and what to expect, the situation isn't that straight forward. Visiting a loved one in prison isn't that 'bog standard' because for thousands of families of prisoners, they are visiting a loved one in prison addicted to drugs and who are still addicted to drugs throughout their sentence. It's not good is it?
Authorities such as Social Services will intervene and support some families with substance misuse issues here on the out because the impact drug abuse has on children is devastating. However, families with a loved one in prison who are still using drugs inside are encouraged to maintain contact and visit as much as possible. For me, it completely contradicts itself. A child traumatised by a drugs bust in their home because of addict parents are still visiting their addict parents in prison whilst their addict parents are getting high behind their cell doors. Look, I'm not saying anyone should deny their child from visiting a parent in prison, but you see my point? Their parent 9 times out of 10 will be released from prison still addicted to drugs and the revolving door starts moving again.
Wouldn't it be interesting for example if prison visits were conducted behind perspex for a months? Just as a temporary measure? It would without a shadow of a doubt eliminate outside smuggling. I hear you say, "Yes, but the prisoners would kick off"! Perhaps, but mobile phones and drugs shouldn't be supplied to HMP.
I speak to a corrections officer/sheriff in the USA and he followed the Birmingham riot on Twitter. He was amazed the riot went on for as long as it did. In fact he's amazed about a few things but I'll leave that for another day.
I received an email from a young Mum the other day who didn't want her post published but has given me permission to talk about some of its content.
Her partner is in prison and used the synthetic drug, Spice, before he was sent down. They have a 3 year old child.
He is still using this substance now whilst serving his prison sentence - which is coming to a close. Probation has visited her home and the rest of it, but it makes no odds whether probation visit or not because he is a drug addict and is being released from prison still in active addiction. Probation by the way didn't offer this young Mum any support, so she, with a young child in tow, is by herself pigeon-holed in a category that says - families can reduce re offending. If it wasn't so heart wrenching, it would be laughable because whoever the bright sparks are who claim families have such power, let me meet them and I'll bring some families along who can tell you, you are chatting bull and then some.
My thoughts go out to the prisoners, their families and staff at HMP Birmingham.