14 April 2006

Protest at Styal Prison

I recently met with others outside Styal prison to stage a protest in order to highlight the serious problem of deaths in custody. It was a wet and very cold day but the determination of those gathered was uplifting. Some very sad stories of Mothers and Fathers who have lost loved ones through suicide whilst in jail.

Many also felt strongly about proposals to expand Styal and of course I support their
concerns. The answer does not lie in even larger prisons, but in how prisons are managed now and the way forward is to reduce the numbers of people sent to jail therefore allowing better management and obsevation of those who struggle with prison and feel vulnerable. Pauline Campbell works hard to bring about changes, she lost her
daughter in Styal.

As many know the whole system needs reforming, vulnerable, mentally ill prisoners and those addicted to drugs need far more than what is given as prison stands today.


Anonymous Nigel said...

It seems to me that the Prison system goes along in cycles. First there's a repressive penal régime, which leads to riots or disturbances, which then leads to reform until the politicians start the "grandstanding" game and talking tough to buy votes - leading back to repression again.
Given the overcrowding problem highlighted by the Prison Reform Trust's report recently, it wouldn't surprise me if we have another round of Prison disturbances again. I hope I'm proved wrong.

It's good to see you've made some more friends lately, Sue. Particularly Pauline Campbell. I also see that Ruth Wyner (remember the Cambridge 2?) is a signatory to your petition.

1:19 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Nigel is quite right, the way prisons are run does change but those deciding on change never get it right! One of the reasons why so many end up in prison now is of course due to the curse of drugs in our society and that has to be addressed both outside prison and inside. Merely using the method of Mandatory Drug Testing as a form of monitoring is fruitless, we need far more to be put in place to encourage drug users to come away from drugs and be supported throughout, and more importantly, after release from prison.

10:24 am  
Blogger Alan said...

I quite agree with susan's statement. What concerns me is that the political climate seems to be one of cracking down more and more on crime, even at the expense of sending increasing numbers of innocent people to prison. As regards prison itself, I can understand people who are really a danger to society being locked up, but surely in many cases it is not only unnecessary but counterproductive.

8:14 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Because public opinion is so important to politicians, they neglect to fully examine the workings and consequences of the penal system. Of course we need prisons, but what the public should be asking is how are they run? What is in place during the sentence to
help makes as much difference as possible to how offenders think, why they offend? Interestingly on last nights Question Time, the Conservative Minister George Osborne was on the panel and it was refreshing to hear a Minister actually questioning how prisons run. He also pointed out a very true statement that more needs to be put in place once the prisoner is released to equip and guide them through the interim period after release. If they come out homeless and jobless what chance do they stand to get on the right path? Sadly whilst prisons remain so full those who should be recognised as still dangerous and likely to cause serious problems outside, slip through the net because the system is clogged up and failing.

8:47 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Still more prison deaths! On 1st May 2006 a female prisoner killed herself in HMP New Hall. 2 male prisoners died within hours of each other at HMP Leeds on 10th May and another female died in HMP Styal on the same day! 6 women have died in Styal within a 12 month period. One death is one too many.

11:47 am  

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