Saturday, November 7, 2009

How petty can it get?

We have some activities here that make stuff such as tapestry and wickerwork. Since time immemorial, the goods made have been kept by the cons and usually sent out for family and friends.

No longer, though. Now they have been declared as the property of the prison, which intends to sell them off and trouser the loot. Just how bad are the budget cuts that it comes to this?


  1. <<---insert look of utter disbelief and expletive of your choice here.

  2. When Ben sees a normal contract of employment on the out he may find that inventions and creative work done while in the company's employment (including out-of-hours work) may become property of the employer. This has sometimes made employees very indignant or bitter.

    As a prisoner you are not an employee of the prison and you have no contract - the relationship appears to be one of forced labour, refusal to work being a disciplinary offence leading to a charge - but you would not expect your output from, for example, a prison workshop to become your property.

    If inmates paid for materials they used in recreational classes to make soft toys etc, I think they would have a good case for keeping them, but usually they are supplied free of charge by the prison. All the same, it seems counterproductive in terms of rehabilitation to take them away when they have been made as loving little gifts for family and friends. A compromise, I suggest, would be to send them to children's charities with a personal message from the maker.

  3. For a respectful take on this model, see Fine Cell Work ( This excellent organisation teaches needlecrafts to prisoners and sells the work outside. The prisoners receive payment in addition to the training and the opportunity for creative, reflective, purposeful work.