Saturday, November 21, 2009

Instant Kharma?

"Just what do you do with a man who has so many mental health problems that he is on suicide watch, and who overslept cos of his medication?  If you are management at Shepton Mallet, you put him on a basic regime, taking away his TV, wages, and his right to associate with his peers. All for at least a month.   My having voiced my disgust at this to the Gov led the wing manager to bollock this poor sod this morning. As if punishing him for oversleeping wasn’t enough! Picking on the suicidal must make them feel really good.…welcome to the modern, humane, prison service."

from blog Editor: I saw Ben today and he asked me to relay this incident to you as he felt it was unjust, and I have passed it on in the spirit that it was expressed in to me.  The title was my own, as it made me reflect a little...


  1. Reminds me of Darshavin from Spooks.


  2. Clueless is one word. Absolutely outrageous is another. Nothing will change in prisons will change unless prison staff realise that they are dealing with human beings. If this man kills himself, i hope those responsible are held to account.

  3. Well, what goes around comes around, so they say. I guess that was meant by "instant kharma".

  4. I did not realise that prisons had different regimes and so have read about the system on the prisoners rights organisation and Liberty websites. It is called the Incentives and Earnings Privilege Scheme and I suppose introduced to give people rewards for good behaviour. The rules state that a
    panel from the prison where the prisoner is held should decide what status the prisoner should be given and/or changed and only in exceptional circumstances a prison officer and another (at least Principal Officer - is this management?) can make the decision. It also states clearly that a single incident of misbehaviour or short term failure of performance will not result in change of status. The rules are clearly laid out and I would be surprised if a senior member of the prison agreed to the loss of status outside of the rules given that a complaint can be placed.

    Complaints can be lodged with the Prison Authorities if you are not happy with the change, and if you remain unhappy then the Prison and Probation Ombudsman. One can even seek Judicial Review. It seems that loss of privileges is a serious matter and one assumes not taken lightly.

    I therefore do not understand why this man lost his privileges. Refusing to get out of bed one morning would not have been sufficient grounds. There must have been further reasons and unless I knew all the detail, I feel unable to criticise those involved. I am quite sure you would not have become involved Ben unless rules were broken and you probably know a lot more about why the decision was reached. It is just not clear from this posting which is of course one sided from the prisoner's perspective.

  5. That this man is on a suicide watch is all I need to know. He should be supported, not further stressed. That just seems obvious, end of story.

  6. The bit I don't get is if someone was 'watching' him, how he was allowed to oversleep? I guess suicide watch is not constant, but you would hope someone was keeping an eye out for the time. Wouldn't you...? :(

  7. @anonymous 11:31, what a touching naivety you have in official policies! If police can assault protestors in front of cameras, what do you imagine is possible behind prison walls?

  8. @Babs G, you are officially smarter than the average prison Governor!

  9. Its the uniform...once they put it on, it goes straight to their heads. Then the invisible glasses go on and all they can see is aliens and they want to attack attack attack. 'Hard Bastards'

  10. Anon 9:03. I'd say ta, but...

    Hey, at least I can tell my mum all that education wasn't totally wasted.

  11. Anonymous 11.22.
    I have read loads of books and watched loads of romantic comedies, but do not believe this is true life.
    I have worked within the criminal justice system and was told all the things you have said. I then found myself a Prisoner and after telling them all the things I had been told, learnt that once the outer prison wall door closes, your rights are left behind. Doesn't matter who you are, what problems you may have, they tell you to get up you are meant to get up. Through a sickie and there's are mark against you !
    A friend of mine said that the officers grew up with no toys or friends, cos all they do is play with the keys and bully people !
    Live the life, don't read about it !

  12. November 22, 2009 8:00 PM

    My brother was on suicide watch here in America. It likely varies by state and by prison but in his prison "Suicide Watch" was the name for a different area of the prison where you're placed and they take away things you could possibly do harm to yourself with like eating utensils or clothes (you're given a paper robe). You're checked on more often than other prisoners, but not constantly watched.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.