Sunday, February 28, 2010

Call me Mister

Whilst presiding over the greatest wave of oppression ever to sweep over prisons, the ex Director General Martin Narey also announced what became known as the "decency agenda".

As I recall, he first mooted this idea at a conference of prison governors. He berated them for their sins, declaring that he was sick of having to apologise for the shameful state of some of their prisons. As this was in the wake of the revelations regarding the brutal regime at Wormwood Scrubs, his criticism was on solid ground. A few in the audience walked out.

The Decency Agenda is a simple idea relating to how prisoners should be treated. As Narey expressed it, ask yourself: how you would like your son or daughter, brother or sister to be treated whilst they were in prison?

A tiny fragment of this idea is that staff call us "Mister...", rather than merely our surname. The screws hate it, for the simple reason that it forces them to view us as people and not as scum.

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