Monday, August 30, 2010

Reform and Rehabilitation

It is common to use these terms interchangeably, to the general detriment of both. To rehabilitate is "to be restored to ones previous position". To reform is "to abandon evil ways".

To reform, then, is a personal transformation, motivated by the individual's desire to change. It does happen! There comes a time in many criminals’ lives when they look back at their life and shudder at the waste of it.

Assuming that this does occur, what are the practicalities? If you decide to sort your life out, what can prison do to support that change? Is it even the place of prison to offer any support?

A prisoner intent on reform, with the best will in the world, is likely to be frustrated and inhibited. He will still leave prison ill educated and with no real training in employable skills. He will still have lost his home, his job and possibly his main relationships.

He will be rewarded for his personal transformation on release with £48, a train ticket, and a clear plastic sack with HM Prison Service emblazoned upon it to carry his possessions through the streets of a hostile society.

To chant that "prison works" is an insult to the people who want and try to change. At a cost of over £40,000 a year, that the prison experience completely fails to support individual reform should make even the most punitive politician scratch their heads and wonder.


  1. Hi ben

    What are you in Prison for?

    People get about 12 years for murder now, you have been in for 30, why's that?

  2. anon, the starting point for murder is sixteen years, tho a bit lower for juveniles. Why ben has been in so long is explained in the notes on the facebook page. Its crazy.

  3. Newcomers to the blog are asking why Ben is in prison. Please read "About Me". You will find it at the bottom of the page under the blog archive.


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