Monday, August 31, 2009



I suppose that mentioning that I'm taking a break from my TV to write this post will only reinforce the prejudices of those who - whilst never having been behind a locked door - feel that prison is just too damn easy.

Prisoner’s TV’s have become totemic for those who subscribe to the Butlins view of prisons. TV’s infuriate swathes of the chattering classes and the political nonentities who echo their wittering. Why? What is the problem?

It's not as if TV’s are thrown our way with breakfast. We have to earn them through good behaviour and we pay a £1 per week for the privilege. No flat-screen, HD or Digital, only some piece of basic 14 inch Korean plastic and glass. Bad boys aren’t allowed them and if, like me, you are unemployed and have an income of £2.50 per week then a TV becomes the major expense.

TV's serve two official purposes. Firstly, as a key carrot in encouraging pro-social behaviour, no other privilege has such a universal appeal. We could be beaten into compliance, of course, but it is a universal truth that people respond better to rewards than punishments.

Secondly, TV's give us a connection to the wider society that allows us to import the changing culture and mores. Whilst prisons may seem to be solitary islands, the reality is that the walls are permeable and that we have a persistent mechanism to stay connected and informed is in society’s interest. We will return to the wider society some day, and it is in the community’s interests that we feel a part of that society. Disconnected people are far more likely to commit future crime.

And TV's in cells are safer. Darkened communal TV rooms encourage an interesting culture of machismo and provide the cover for nefarious activities. Nothing spoils a good film quite as much as the man next to you suddenly keeling over after being clumped on the noggin by a bed-leg that appeared out of the gloom!

So, do you want to deprive me of my telly?


  1. I am the person who wrote about 'Remorse' and I am very sorry for any offence I have caused you or your family. In my opinion, 'Remore' works like this, a crime is committed, the person showed that they are sorry, they do their sentence (along with their families who suffer as victims too) and then that person is allowed to start again providing that they are safe to be out in society. The feeling of being sorry is crutical to moving on and then some form of forgiven can take place, but without 'remorse' no journey of recovery can take place. Once again I am very sorry if I have causeed you or your brother any more hurt then you have already experience. Your brother is lucky to have you and I pray that you and the rest of your family will stick with him because he will need your support every step of the way. It does sound though that he is making his own recovery or be it painful! My good wishes go out to you and your brother!

  2. no offence whatsoever taken. My best wishes to you also. God bless.
    I think what I was trying to say was that there is such a bigger scale with the whole imprisonment thing. Ticking the right boxes springs to mind but I often wonder how the parole board come to the conclusion that the offender is remorseful and fit for release. It's a whole whirlwind of things!

  3. "...taking a break from my TV to write this post will only reinforce the prejudice of BLAH BLAH BLAH..."

    You mean, the prejudice that you lie about all day watching daytime TV, as expressed in another of your own posts:

    "Daily life for the unemployed is much the same in prison as on the street - perpetually broke and subjected to God awful daytime TV...
    And so I live the life of impoverished leisure, rolling out of bed about the time when the working contingentare being marched away. The TV goes on before I'm even dressed..."

    That prejudice?

    You are welcome to your TV, though, like smoking it is bad for your health and I recommend that you give it up. I have and it's great - now I can spend all my free time spamming blogs.

    And what's with the threats again? "Disconnected people are far more likely to commit future crime."... it all sounds a bit like "NO BEER NO TV MAKE HOMER GO CRAZY" to me.