Yet more problems with my mail. This time it’s receiving printouts of the recent online newspaper articles.
First one: IPSO sent me one of the articles on 24th April. I didn’t receive it until 20th May. So, where did it go for that month? Read on…
Second one: my mother sent me a letter with an enclosed printout; although, she cannot recall sending me a screenshot with pictures (usually she only sends the text). This was stopped by Security, sent to a department called Public Protection, whose decision was: “not to be issued to Mr Coutts. Letter to be placed into store prop.” “Why?” I hear you asking: because, in their words, “Photo’s of victim. Not allowed in possession. Security decision,”
On a slight tangent, allow me to get something of my chest: the word “victim”. This really gets under my skin; perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. The use of this word by staff really encapsulates their lack of interest. She had a name: Jane Longhurst. Reducing her to nothing more than this anonymous noun reflects badly on them. They didn’t even have to look her name up, it would’ve have been on the article. If they desperately wanted to use the word “victim”, why not follow it with “Ms Longhurst” Perhaps, because it dehumanise me (and every other prisoner), which allows them to act in any number of morally questionable ways without troubling their conscience.
I submitted my claim in which I asked they remove or redact any pictures they have an issue with and forward my mother’s letter with the enclosed article. Now, this complaint could have resolved at this stage, but no, I receive a typically obtuse reply saying little more than that what happened; which I already knew and had already put in the complaint. If I had asked “what happened?” it would’ve been a great reply. I do wish that staff would educate themselves on what is expected from them, as per the ‘Complaints’ PSI, when they reply to a complaint. Now someone else is going to have to spend their time answering my appeal. If it doesn’t get resolved at that stage the No. 1 Governor will receive a complaint; then its judicial review. They cannot obstruct my lawful right to pursue a complaint regarding inaccurate newspaper articles, which, of course, I cannot do if they refuse to give me a copy of the article.
Then. (Note the irony) I receive IPSO’s missing letter together with the full screenshot printout of the articles.
Since that point, Security currently have another IPSO letter which they are supposedly ‘humming and ahhing over’ over; it’s been 2 ½ weeks since it was sent. Plus, there’s another letter IPSO have sent since which also has not arrived.
The final point, which should demonstrate the ridiculous nature of these actions, newspapers are freely available for prisoners to purchase. Security doesn’t stop these newspapers when they contain articles with pictures of prisoners and “victims”. So, what’s the point? Another oppressive series of actions just because they can?
Be happy, be safe (and bring on the day when prisoners are allowed (limited) internet and email access).
Graham Coutts, 28th May 2017