Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Perpetual Lie

One of the most pernicious and repeated arguments for the use of prison is the minimalist one - at least whilst crims are behind the walls, they aren't committing crimes.

This is a belief hawked around by columnists, politicians and some rather poor criminologists. And I daresay that it chimes well with a "common sense" perception amongst a swathe of the public.

The only problem is, it isn't true. there's no mental or conceptual slight of hand here, it is just a straightforward fact. Like gravity. Putting criminals in prison does not stop them offending whilst inside.

The crime rate within prisons is a dirty little secret that no one talks about. Hundreds of thousands of assaults are merely a beginning. The murder rate is skyrocketing compared to the wider community. As for thefts, most are dealt with far away from official eyes. Criminals in prison are as wedded to their work ethic as out on the streets.

Imprisoning people is a serious business. If it must be done then let it be done on sound reasoning. To do so on the basis of lies and laziness is itself criminal.

41 comments:

  1. Ah, but the arguement is they are not commiting the crimes on us.

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    1. Then let that be made explicit. Because it would signify the true expulsion of prisoners from the human society, tell them that they don't matter one jot....and if a society rejects you so fundamentally that it removes the Rule of Law from you, then there can never be any reciprocity. Let the battle then commence.....

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  2. Don't forget about the major drug problem in our prison system Ben!! Cheaper and more available than in the community.

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    1. Yes, and prisoners families are always blamed for smuggling it in, when the factor of staff corruption is completely ignored.

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  3. But staff corruption isn't ignored though is it Ben? The vast majority of the drugs available in prison is trafficked in by prisoners families either on visits or via throw overs. In the open estate it's even easier, bring it back from ROTL or in from your work placement ( the newsagent in Burton that sells mamba under the counter ring any bells?) or just send a joey to the fence to pick up a parcel drop etc etc.
    as for corruption of course it exists, but your being disingenuous to suggest its overlooked. If a screw is caught bringing drugs into prison ( regardless of quantity or type if drug) he or she will get sent to prison, no ifs or buts. Every jail has a police liaison officer on site, every jail has fairly regular staff entry and exit searches, London jails have got a dedicated unit to tackle corruption ( London Prisons Anti-Corruption Taskforce .. LPACT) staffed by security screws and met coppers. So that type of corruption ( as well as inappropriate staff/ prisoner relationships etc) is hardly ignored is it??
    The other points that you raise do have some validity, but are worldwide and common phenomena associated with imprisonment ( read society of captives by Gresham Sykes for a better explanation than I will give) what I mean is in a closed society of people ( let's say men) where a significant percentage of that society are predisposed to acquisition of goods or power via either force or theft or deception it is entirely reasonable to expect them to continue to behave in at least the same way or to actually increase their levels of force/deception/theft just to survive in that environment. It's a bit like Lord of the flies, survival of the fittest etc.
    I'm not saying its right, but what I am saying is its too simplistic to argue that this behaviour is society's fault

    C-A

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    1. Hm, can't recall claiming that crime in prison is society's fault.

      Staff anti-corruption is a farce. Please read John Podmore's book. As the last head of national anti-corruption he tells it the way it is. Families smuggle drugs, but staff do at least as much drug smuggling.

      i hear what you say re the sociology of imprisonment but that is slightly off my point. ll I am saying is, don't say that putting people in prison stops them offending. It doesn't.

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  4. I'm not sure that this post isn't a bit of a straw man? Crime within prison, as I understand it, is an issue that badly needs addressing. But it doesn't negate the argument that imprisonment prevents a particular inmate (or series of inmates) from committing repeat crimes for which he's been sentenced, for the period of imprisonment. And that this brings an arguable benefit to the wider, law-abiding society. I don't think you can use the former as an argument against the latter, not really. Any more than you can say the wider, law-abiding society outside prison has more right to be protected against crime than a prisoner does.

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    1. Car theft in prison is very low, granted, but then car thieves can become cell thieves or muggers on the landings. Putting people in prison does not stop them committing crime.

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    2. Surely putting petty criminals in prison is like sending them on an intensive residential training course where they get to learn all the tricks of the trade from hundreds of others with a huge breadth of experience? Prisons are training camps for criminality aren't they? I gather on release you get £46 and a big gap in your CV that makes it rather difficult to get work.

      Surely the inevitable response once out of the prison gates is to head for the pub, have a few pints, and go and commit a crime to get some cash so you can afford to live? Thus the merry-go-round of crime-prison-crime-prison etc etc continues.. We have the outcome that the system produces.

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    3. Sounds like a daft system, doesn't it...? Because it is.

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  5. Ben, A topical question for you. Jimmy Saville is alleged to have abused children of 14. There is no question of the children being guilty of a crime. They are judged to be innocent victims rather than willing participants because of their age. So if we choose to absolve children who were involved in sexual activity as children from any blame because of their age, how do you square that with you having served 32 years for a crime committed as a 14 year old? Perhaps the subject of a blog post?

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    1. @RH

      Errm, because these kids were Savilles victims, not perpetrators of the abuse??
      What a strange proposition to make , lining up two 14yr olds one who's been abused by a paedophile and one who's killed a friend and saying that they're both victims based solely on their age....

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    2. I have ignored the details od the Saville business so need catching up. But if the implication of this comment is that some of his 14yo victims were willing participants, it raises the point as to why 14yo are endowed with the maturity to be held responsible for criminal decisions but not sexual ones?

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    3. Anon – Either you have genuinely misunderstood the point or you are attempting to ‘pervert’ what I am saying.

      Ben – exactly. More than one of Saville’s victims has said that they participated in sexual acts with him for benefit – i.e. appearing on Top of the Pops or rubbing shoulders with celebrities.

      And isn’t that how ‘perverts’ and pedophiles operate. They don’t force rape children generally – although obviously the ones that do are most likely to end up in prison. Instead they persuade them to do what they want for benefit – be it money, food, proximity to fame, or even ‘love’ and affection?

      It’s hardly surprising that child abuse lines have been swamped over the last few days. This case has brought it home to people that as far as society is concerned, they were not participants but ‘victims’ – thus they feel absolved of responsibility.

      It would seem that it’s that sense of responsibility that so often stops kids talking about it later in life or reporting it at the time.

      And surely it’s the inconsistency here, in the way that the rules of responsibility are defined, that causes so much concealment and so in turn leads to perpetuation?

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  6. OK - coming out of the anonymity.

    The problem with prison is that crime happens daily. Nor only con-con crime but screw-con and con-screw. We only hear about the worst excesses, and even then we brush it away because it happened in prison.

    How many here think it is ok for a sex offender to be attacked in prison due to their offence? I recall Ben's view of Sex Offenders as being "a fellow con" which is a very magnanamous view to take. Most do not, and even on the VP wing, there are the higher and lower ranks.

    But, now look at the crap handed out by the screws. Healthcare problems, lockdowns, IEP warnings for nothing, punishment beatings if your face doesn't fit, denial of mail, visits, phone calls, slave labour. Need I go on? Every single prison governor has committed contempt of court (Raymond v Honey). It's ludicrous to say "while they are locked up they aren't involved in crime". Prisoners are the victim and perpetrators of crimes on a daily basis.

    The sooner Chris Grayling realises this, the better. And then, every screw that commits an offence against a con needs to be prosecuted for the breach of trust involved.

    Maybe then we'll get clean screws and prison will become a fairer place.

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  7. @ Fenrir Lukoi you really have spouted some SHIT-take a bow son,really take a bow!

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    1. Another detailed and compelling rebuttal from the screws corner! :)
      @Fenrir Lukoi - thanks, you are spot on.

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  8. Rubbish & you know it.You just try to convince those who've never been inside (as Staff or con)otherwise.Staff do a dirty job on behalf of the law abiding public by keeping VERMIN contained in an environment away from harming the public further with their selfish,immature,beligerant,arrogant,obnoxious,subversive,non conformist criminal behaviour.Only the misguided amongst your peers think otherwise.It's easy for you to 'have a pop' at Prison/Police Officers as you've served 3 decades as nothing more than a convict.At least I & my colleagues have had the decency to serve the public in a role that has most respect & I would say my concience is as clear as it can be.

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    1. Criminals are sent to prison by a Judge or Magistrate. They, and they alone, have the authority to determine the sentence they deserve and receive. Prison officers do not have that right. Their job is to follow the order that has been prescribed by a judge. As the orders given by the judge do not include corporal punishment by beating or of confiscation of property (at least beyond a proceeds of crime order, which does not apply to the property in a prisoners cell) then no one can state that they have been denied the right of physical integrity and property.

      Therefore, prisoner officers have the same duty to protect prisoners from crime as they have to other members of the public to protect them from violence and theft. Whatever you may think of those under your charge, you have that duty to them as you DO NOT have the authority to play judge.

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    2. Anon - Please don't stop illustrating the problems with Prison in that exemplary way that you do. You and people like you could eventually be responsible for much needed reform. Keep talking and explaining your point of view. I applaud you.

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  9. @Anon, still ranting as your keyboard melted...? Rebut just one of @Fenrir Lukoi's points and a debate could break out.

    Nice to know the people charged with my rehabilitation saw me as "vermin", in capitals no less. Explains the reoffending rate.

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  10. Dog screws should remain in their kennels!

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  11. @ tallguy-corporal punishment does not take place in HMPS.Property that's allowed & on property card (signed as correct by con) is allowed.Acquired property from others by various sometimes illegal methods is not allowed.You really have no idea of all the good work that is done by my colleagues in jails daily.Convicts have to follow the rules as do Staff.When cons do not,they have to accept the consequences of their actions as do Staff.There is a phenomenal amount of violence in jails daily-violence by con on con & often is not seen by Staff due to location/method & cons not wanting authority involvement as they see it as 'grassing'which is an immature but understandable way of dealing with problem.Your views on prison are based on -probably sod all!!! just conjecture.

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    1. The point is not that the staff are performing the abuse (although some stories suggest that some (not all) staff are). The point is that you cannot dismiss crime against prisoners because they have not had their rights to physical integrity and property away

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    2. @anon, what a pretty, perfect system you describe, where all who commit wrong - staff or con - get their due justice.

      Such a pity that wasn't the system I knew.

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  12. @Darby as usual more shit from you.Cons & certainly ex cons should be seen & not heard as they've really not got anything constructive to say.So in the words of the prophet F*** off!

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    1. I expect you're somewhat peeved that you (and a dozen or so of your thick, bully-boy chums!) can't quieten me down in the preferred manner, - on account of my not being tucked away in a quiet corner of a block somewhere. Live with it!

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    2. @Anon, keep going, doing my job for me.....

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  13. @ tallboy-you really are talking through you arse.I'm of the opinion that you don't know what you're talking about.Perhaps you need to leave this alone & find something else to whinge/whine about.Only do your research first otherwise you'll continue to look like a fool.Bye!

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    1. @Anon, another thorough, detailed rebutal of a perfectly framed point, lol. Ladies and Gentlemen, dear readers, I haven't spent much time over the years talking about screws on this blog. But due to these recent interruptions you will have a greater appreciation of just what I - and my peers - were up against. I don't need to abuse them; but they are compelled to abuse us. I sincerely hope that you keep coming back to reveal your true nature guys, thank you!!!!!!

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    2. If I don't know what I am talking about perhaps you could educate me or others? It might mean that in future I can go forth as a slightly more educated person. In particular I would be interested to know which part of my statements you think are wrong. Is it the statement that only a judge or magistrate have powers of sentence (or the governor in narrow circumstances I suppose)? Or the statement that the sentence does not include deprivation of the right to physical integrity (if it does please send me to the relevant part of the sentencing guidelines)? Or is it the statement that because prisoners are not deprived of these rights then crime against them should be a concern?

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  14. @ darby-now you've shown what type of miscreant you are/have been.I suspect that you've been a block rat in your past.A typical poor coper who blamed everyone else for your inadequacies.Someone who cannot accept the consequences for his actions,always looking for confrontation,a real poor excuse for a so called human being.Ring any bells? Grow up & accept your failings,move on,live your life appropriately,legally & without blaming others for your behaviour.I suspect though you'll fall short!

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    1. Unlike our blog host (an educated man), I'm afraid my way of putting maggots like yourself in their place was a lot less sophisticated!

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  15. @ Anon,(the one who doesn't like to put a space after punctuation).
    You sound like someone in desperate need of a blow job!

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  16. I am terribly confused now. Is the mad, crazy violent lunatic one on here the ex-con or the prisoner officer? I feel quite perturbed.

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  17. @ Darby,there you go again displaying your propensity for violence.As I said,you really need to have some kind of counselling & cognitive behavioural therapy as you obviously have a 'chip' on your shoulder (like so many) with those of us in authority.This then manifests itself in people (scum) like you committing crime.Then there are victims of your actions.Victims who have their lives damaged by your selfish actions. So,less the threats as you cannot do anything about it on here.If you cannot post rational comments-go crawl away to under the rock from whence you came!

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    1. Oh dear, another officer who thinks that psychology has anything to do with offending.

      Do you not realise that the reason MoJ won't pay for the courses is because they know they don't work. They only still exist in some prisons to give petty individuals like you a warm feeling.

      I didn't do any courses, yet I'm now a law-abiding citizen, no re-offending, job, house, partner, regular trips abroad. Nothing to do with your (or your colleagues) input. You really can't cope with the fact that the successes don't get as much publicity as the failures.

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    2. It's great that a guy who calls others "scum" can accuse them of having a chip on their shoulder....and not recognise the irony. Or probably spell it. Still, good to see that the question of whether Neanderthal Man could use a keyboard has been resolved..... :)

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    3. Indeed. His snap analysis of me is typical of the type of nonexistent evidence used by him (and others of a like minded ilk) to write-up reports about those in their charge they may have simply taken a dislike to.

      And although (as already suggested) it’s always interesting for those who haven’t experienced the pleasure of prison, to see the warped mind of a power-crazed screw at work. The fact that people like this cretin have as much power as a High Court Judge (in terms of the ability to keep someone locked up) - should be a concern for all.

      I haven’t threatened anyone in *any* post, yet, simply from my response to his drivel - he’s deduced that I’m a violent (active) criminal who’s still leaving victims in my wake.
      Just for the record: Although my contribution to society probably wouldn't win any awards. Having spent 35 years getting out of a system I was born into - I have now been out of prison (arrest free!) for nearly 2 decades.

      My own ‘revolving door’ experience of the Care/CJS didn't come to an end because of any Psychologist, Psychiatrist or Probation Officer. My problems (in terms of re-offending) were always practical, and as thus, disappeared as soon as I managed (through a combination of factors) to overcome those particular hurdles.

      Even so, after nearly 20 years, I still wake up relieved and thankful that I'm no longer within the corrupt clutches of the likes of Anon above.

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  18. Well, you are all entertaining yourselves so well that I am retiring from this thread.

    Posterity -and readers- will note whose comments were the reasoned ones, and whose were shot through with bile.

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  19. Going to prison can be a real shock to some people and they might turn their lives around whilst there and because of it.

    This really is a mindfield of a subject ...

    Clearly, as we can see from some of the comments of this and other recent threads, many people who work in the prison environment have prejudices ( which leads to mal treatment ) against those who they keep locked up.

    The problem is that there are just too many people being locked up who have committed petty crimes and are probably just growing up poor and working class; with all the problems that that situation entails.

    Locking up and brutalising groups of people is all of our business, and it is getting out of hand now as there are people who are suffering from insanity who commit and do very silly things because of what is going on in their minds and they are being locked up. People who might have committed a silly and small but unintelligable act, years ago would have been looked after and offered a hospital bed, residential care, and / or day care services, they now find themselves being brutalised in the prison service. For the mentally insane people who are dangerous, they don't cease to be dangerous by being brutalised and locked up, they carry on, and it makes the prison estate even worse.

    Honestly, there must be a better way. People who are insane and do stupid things should not go to jail in the first place, and the ones who have no insight into their insanity and continue to hurt and maime, should be given understanding, again, in the first place.

    No one individual has the right over another to decide that they are a lost cause and should be kept separate and mentally or even physically brutalised or tortured.

    The way things are currently all stem from he fact that the ruling class are in a small minority and are shit scared of the majority, and so by any way they can, whether it be by institution, force or fraud, they keep us down. They are especially scared and have no comprehension of the danger that goes with being mentally ill. They are fools and their rule over us will not last.

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