Hatched from a prison cell, ‘high’ at HMP Deerbolt…Serco approved?

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An increased use of so-called “legal highs” in prisons is causing a rise in levels of violence, a report has warned. That’s right, prisoners are able (somehow) to get legally high in prison.The raft of newly formulated synthetic drugs are … Continue reading

HMP Stocken – Where Did It All Go Wrong?

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In January 2003, an inspection report from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons praised Stocken Prison, stating that it was an example for other jails to follow. Inspectors found “mutually respectful relationships between staff and prisoners” which created a “decent, … Continue reading

Welcome to HMP Hewell

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A murdered prison inmate predicted his own killing in an unopened letter to jail bosses. Adnan Rafiq, 22, sent the letter shortly before he was attacked in his cell over a row about an alleged theft. But prison chiefs at … Continue reading

‘Catastrophic failure’ allowed convicted killer to murder on day release

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A convicted killer was allowed out on day release, leaving him free to murder a good samaritan in a decision described as a “catastrophic failure” by the chief inspector of prisons.

Ian McLoughlin stabbed to death Graham Buck, 66, while allowed out from HMP Spring Hill in Buckinghamshire, where he was serving a 25-year jail term for killing two men he believed were paedophiles.

McLoughlin had travelled to the home of former prisoner and convicted sex offender Francis Cory-Wright in Hertfordshire in July 2013, and filled a pillowcase with cash and family heirlooms in a robbery.

Buck heard his neighbour’s screams and went to investigate what was happening, but was dragged inside by McLoughlin, who slashed his throat.

In a report drawn up in January last year but made public now, Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, highlighted a catalogue of failings that allowed McLoughlin to be released.

He said: “The decision to release Ian McLoughlin had catastrophic consequences.”

Hardwick warned that the system for identifying and managing prisoners released on temporary licence (ROTL) are woefully inadequate.

The number of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, which are handed out to the most dangerous convicts, and allowed out on day release has increased from 38,000 to more than 90,000 between 2008 and 2012.

But Hardwick said the systems for managing these offenders in open prisons “lack clarity and are insufficiently robust”.

He added: “There is a general presumption in favour of granting ROTL. The purpose of individual releases is not clear, and there are insufficient safeguards to manage the risks presented by some higher-risk-of-harm prisoners.”

He said protection arrangements “are not routinely reviewed when prisoners transfer to open prisons” and “risk assessment processes are inadequate”. A lack of competence and failures to share information are leading to “indefensible releases”, he added.

A dire state of affairs eh Mr Cameron?

Baa Baa Black Sheep…..There’s a brown girl in the ring……HMP Whitemoor…..The Prison With The Largest Muslim Population In The UK

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HMP Whitemoor In 2006

‘Police have launched an investigation into claims of “systematic” racial assaults, racist abuse and brutality by prison officers at maximum security Whitemoor prison, it emerged last night. Cambridgeshire police confirmed to the Guardian that an investigations team was set up last October to examine an alarming number of serious allegations at the jail.

HMP Whitemoor, near March in Cambridgeshire, specialises in managing and treating prisoners with dangerous and severe personality disorders.

‘The Guardian’ has learned of a variety of incidents alleged by inmates and their solicitors, including an assault to the head by an officer using a riot shield and an assault which resulted in a spinal injury. It has also been alleged that staff used a range of racial abuse including “black bastard” and “black cunt”. A number of officers have been named in complaints.

Though police are declining to comment on specific incidents being examined by Operation Pond, the Guardian has established that several firms of solicitors are pursuing complaints on behalf of prisoners. Black prisoners also claim to have been referred to as “nigger” and “monkey man” while Muslim prisoners have complained of being denied access to prayer facilities and being referred to as “Paki”.

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One source with close knowledge of the investigation said there was a fear of systematic abuse being meted out by “a hard core of rogue officers”. In one case, a prisoner claims he was hit on the head with a riot shield, dragged into a cell and stripped naked. He says an officer then climbed on top of him and pushed his thumbs into his eyes as if he were trying to blind him.

Lubia Begum-Rob, a solicitor at the Prisoners’ Advice Service, said: “I am most concerned that the largest numbers of complaints I deal with are persistently from prisoners held in HMP Whitemoor.”

Solicitor Dan Rubinstein, who is representing several Whitemoor prisoners, said: “I’m very concerned because of the sheer number of incidents occurring in one prison. This has got to be more than a coincidence. The situation appears to be worse in Whitemoor than anywhere else.” He said the “scale and the repetitiveness of the assaults” indicated a serious problem.

The Good News Is That Things Have Improved….Haven’t They?

‘However, black and minority ethnic, Muslim and foreign national prisoners were much less positive about a range of issues relating to safety and respect. Muslim prisoners in our survey, and those we spoke to were particularly vocal about these issues, and many felt victimised because of their faith.’ (unannounced HMI visit in 2014)

Further to this, a blog posting by ‘Prisoner Support Bristol ABC‘ on Prisoner Kevin Thakrar

Kev was transferred to the segregation unit of HMP Whitemoor on the 17th of December 2013.

Please use the exact address below as some of his mail is going to his brother who is also there.

Rather than being on the CSC unit he is on a punishment regime. No explanation has been given for this, apart from that he has refused to engage with interventions. This is nonsense as no psychologist came to see him in HMP Manchester. They only moved him because of the Judicial Review that he had taken out against the prison authorities.

Right now he is in a cell with no heating, nor access to showers or phone calls on a daily basis, and no access to gym equipment at all. He expects to stay at least until the 21st of January when there is a CSC Management Committee Meeting. Please write to him at:

Kevan Thakrar – A4907AE
Segregation Unit
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Question: Would a prisoner transfer be perceived as a meted out punishment if the prison concerned had reformed as much as the authorities say it has? Maybe the Chancellor can tell us.

Homeless Veterans Appeal: ‘Underwhelmed’ charity chief says Armed Forces Covenant has failed to improve lives significantly

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(Excerpt from article written in ‘The Independent’ December 2014)

Government is “disconnected from the reality” of life faced by the country’s most vulnerable veterans, the head of a leading military charity has said.

Dr Hugh Milroy, the CEO of Veterans Aid, which works to combat homelessness among the UK’s ex-servicemen and women, was responding to the annual Ministry of Defence report on the Armed Forces Covenant, the promise of care for Britain’s troops enshrined in law by David Cameron three years ago.

The Prime Minister first announced his support for the principles of the Covenant to be written into law while on board the HMS Ark Royal in 2010 and has continued to trumpet its progress since the Armed Forces Act came into force the following year.

But Dr Milroy likened the latest report on the Covenant, published on Tuesday, to “a pat on the head from a vaguely connected relative” which left him feeling “completely underwhelmed”.

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“From a Veterans Aid perspective, the report seems disconnected from the reality of the lives of those veterans in crisis we see on a daily basis,” he said. “The Covenant must be for the good of the veterans in every community, throughout the land – not the greater good of organisations, including Parliament.

“In its current form the Covenant did not significantly improve the lives of the many veterans who approached us for help last year. Speaking as a veteran… I find myself completely underwhelmed. It feels like a pat on the head from a vaguely connected relative leaving the question ‘So what?’ hanging in the air.”

Veterans Aid is one of two charities being supported by The Independent’s Christmas appeal. Last year it saw 500 people at its drop-in centre in central London and provided 21,300 nights of accommodation for veterans. It believes that without its help, some of its most vulnerable clients would be dead within five years.

Any chance of revised pre-election budgetary provision for them Chancellor?

 

Prisons ‘struggling’ with increase in elderly inmates

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Prisons are struggling to cope with the increasing number of elderly, sick and disabled people behind bars, a Prison Reform Trust report says.

It reveals that those aged 60 and over are the fastest growing population in English and Welsh prisons, with an increase of 146% between 2002 and 2014.

Those aged 50-59 are the second fastest-growing group, says the report.

The government said it was “committed to providing suitable facilities”.

The report comes as Prisons Minister Andrew Selous is due to give evidence on older prisoners to the Commons justice select committee.

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‘Less safe and less decent’

Longer sentences mean more people are growing frail in prison, but high rates of social and support needs are unmet, says the trust.

Two in five prisoners over 50 now have a disability of some kind, the report added.

Trust director Juliet Lyon said: “In the last few years, prison has been reduced to a punitive holding operation for people growing older and sicker behind bars.

“Prisons are less safe and less decent than they were even a year ago when we published our last report.

“An incoming administration of government in May 2015 must not accept this deterioration in prison standards and conditions as the new normal.”

Although the prison population stands at around 84,500 in England and Wales – 20% higher than it was 12 years ago – the National Offender Management Service has had to make more than £700m in savings over the last three years and is expected to cut a further £149m in 2014-15.

The proportion of prisons whose performance is “of concern” or “of serious concern” according to the National Offender Management Service has risen from 13% in 2012-13, to 23% in 2013-14.

Prisons minister Andrew Selous, said: “We’re committed to providing suitable facilities and ensuring individual healthcare needs are met, as well as working alongside charities such as Age UK and Recoop to ensure older offenders are rehabilitated.

“From April 2015, local authorities (already hit hard by austerity budget cuts) will be responsible for care and support for prisoners meaning that, for the first time, we will have a social care service working alongside the healthcare already provided in prisons by the NHS.”

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My question to you, the electorate is, could not the reduction in the required economic surplus(from 23 billion to 7 billion in 2019-20) have been used by George Osborne to improve this state of affairs?