Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Modern Prison Service

Nailed to each prison gate and scattered throughout the institution is a sign, the prison service’s Statement of Purpose: "Her Majesty's Prison Service serves the public by keeping in custody those committed by the courts. Our duty is to look after them with humanity and to help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release".

Ryan St George was sent to prison for theft. His sentence was 4 months. Ryan was living a less than perfect life before prison. Drink and drug use featured high amongst his problems. He also suffered epilepsy.

Prison staff placed him in a double cell, insisting that he accept sleeping on the top bunk-bed. This was over 5 feet above the concrete floor.

Remember Ryan's epilepsy? One day, he had an epileptic fit and fell from his bunk. His jerking head dropped five feet onto concrete.

Half an hour after staff were alerted an ambulance was called. Count out that time; 30 minutes. What could the staff have been doing for this eternal pause, while Ryan's brain was dying in front of them?

When the ambulance arrived at the prison gate, its entry was delayed by prison officers who were described in terrible terms by their own Governor in court. Ryan's brain was still dying.

When the paramedics arrived at the cell, the information they were given of the situation came from the huddled prisoners; not the prison staff. These paramedics described the state of Ryan as being as bad as it could be without being actually dead.

Once Ryan was in the ambulance, prison staff stood around and argued over which of them was to accompany the ambulance. Ryan's brain was still dying. Were they trying to avoid that duty, or were they bickering to see who would grab the job and the extra pay which goes with it?

Today, Ryan has such severe brain damage that he requires 24 hour care and will do for the rest of his life.

The screws are now outraged that Ryan has been awarded £4.7 million in damages, to pay for his lifetime care.

The modern Prison Service...


  1. Unbelievable - I'm glad he received the amount but would like to know if prison officers have been reprimanded etc for their behaviour. Who in their right mind would have insisted that he go on a top bunk? Negligent - do prison officers not know that prisoners are human beings too?

  2. I recognise this story, as it was headlined in at least one newspaper as something like: "£4.7 million for falling out of bed".


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