Thursday, December 8, 2011
Sprinkled amongst other posts across Christmas and the New Year will be a number of posts relating to the Prison Rules.
The Prison Rules 1999 are, to you, a few clicks away. It is their meaning, context and the way that they shape prison life which is absent from the prison service website -an information gap which begs to be addressed. I just can't resist it.
Although the Rules are dated 1999 in nearly their entirety they are a rehash of the Rules of 1964...which in themselves were a rehash of the Rules from the end of the 18th century. You will get a flavour of this historical continuity when you realise that the Rules relating to the death penalty were only expunged in 1999 - a full generation after execution was abolished In the UK. Bread and water existed as a disciplinary punishment into the 1980's.
Obviously I wouldn't indulge myself or abuse you with a mere retelling of the Rules. It is their hidden meaning which justifies my writing about them... And if I include the odd tale of my brushes with these Rules, well, the Festive Season is approaching and levity begins to creep in. And to stave off any who may be tempted to bleat about the influence of Human Rights legislation on the Rules, it is worth noting the provisions of Rule 34:
"...a prisoner shall not be permitted to communicate with any person outside the prison, or such person with him, except with the leave of the Secretary of State or as a privilege..."
That's my excuse for failing to deal with my unanswered correspondence - and I'm sticking to it!