2019 – 32 – safer custody
So what is going on?
The first problem is the mix of prisoners. When I first came here in January 2012 you could hear a pin drop at night. Whilst there was no vulnerable prisoner part to the prison the number of main location prisoners was not high. Recently, there seems to have been a change in policy. There is now a much higher percentage of ‘main’ prisoners. They seem to gravitate towards each other and build little gangs. Every day they reinforce their anti-paedophile/sex offender beliefs – although, you can be certain that some of them are that which they vilify. They see themselves as a better class of criminal – outlaws, gangsters, with their little ‘limpy’ walks, spitting out insults and threats to the most vulnerable of prisoners – the ones that ‘look like’ they are paedophiles/sex offenders (whatever that is) – and, of course, they have to be suitably old or infirm (no point taking risks – eh, boys(!). With the current policy, this problem is only going to get worse.
The second problem is how the prison has been dealing with these assaults. Did you know that the prison only report the most serious assaults to the police? Most assaults, like ‘potting’ or fighting, are dealt with through the adjudication system – and you can forget about theft being reported to the police. This is despite, in law, prisoners do not have their civil rights removed by any act or omission (Raymond v Honey). So, how does the prison ensure that a victim of ‘potting’ (which could also be that prisoner’s cell – destroying their property) gets a semblance of justice. Upon a guilty adjudication, the Governor can punish the prisoner in a number of ways. They could be reduced to a basic regime (assuming they are not already there), have their TV removed (if they have one), put them on loss of association for a prescribed period of days or put them in segregation (‘the block’) – that is, if there are empty cells. I do wonder if someone who has had human waste poured over their head sees any of these punishments as ‘justice’.
What do some of these prisoners do after serving their ‘punishment’ for terrorising the weak and vulnerable? Well, let’s just say that these types of incidents, at one time, were out of control (as was cell theft). A deterrent… no.
It is only a matter of time before… well, you fill the blanks.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 21st July 2019