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Friday, 31 July 2020 14:49

Prison reform?

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For the past four months, two-thirds of Britain’s prisoners have been in quasi-solitary confinement, locked in cells for at least 23 hours a day. According to the Prison Reform Trust, evidence indicates this does permanent mental health damage. At this point, prison becomes a life sentence. On any basis, it is barbaric. 

Britain’s prison record is currently, like its public health record, among the worst of any country in Europe. It is vulnerable to the same disease: politics. If the much-vaunted radicalism of Boris Johnson’s aide Dominic Cummings is to mean anything, he should turn from easy targets, such as civil servants and local democracy, and tackle something hard, like prisons. British addiction to incarceration has been raging for decades. Were it not for coronavirus, the UK prison population would now be approaching 100,000.

In 1939 it was little more than 15,000. It topped 40,000 under Thatcher and soared to 80,000 under Tony Blair. This reflects not rising crime, but a political craving to appear tough on crime, for the wider criminalisation of social misbehaviour and for ever longer sentences.

For full article https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/31/british-prisons-are-inhumane-and-do-not-prevent-most-of-them-should-go?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New+lockdown+rules+%7c+Court+hours+pilot+%7c+%27Abolish+Supreme+Court%27_07%2f31%2f2020

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