Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Stupid Leading the Blind

Long gone are the days when a prisoner could pass through these stygian halls to be disgorged into the daylight of freedom with little effort.  This particularly applies to Lifers.

Gaining release, and finding a bearable way of life along the way, requires deliberate effort by the prisoner.  It is required that we engage with many processes, all of them quite bureaucratic.  The most prominent of these are the Offending Behaviour Programmes, the psychology courses intended to cure us of our wicked ways.

These courses are heavily reliant on written materials and demand copious amounts of "homework".  And there lies the trap - for those with sensory impairments, low IQ's, or the plain illiterate then progress towards release is blocked.

For the illiterate, a couple of extra years may be served as the prisoner is forced through an educational programme, before starting the OBP courses. For those with impaired senses or learning difficulties there is no such obvious solution. I've met deaf prisoners who have had to fight for years just to have an induction-loop installed so that they could engage with group work.  And I've met men with learning difficulties who have wasted the best part of a decade just waiting for psychological assessments.

Such people are royally stuffed.  Unable to undertake the psychological courses that earn release they find themselves being bounced from prison to prison as each Governor finds it easier to transfer "the problem" rather than allocate any resources or brain-power to deal with it.

In this convoluted way, and through no fault of their own, prisoners with disabilities often serve many more years than their crime deserves.  They are punished for their deficiencies.


  1. Add to that people with mental health conditions that may be undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed who are unable to perform 'satisfactorily' in these assessments, even though they may pose no danger to anyone.

    Ben, thank-you for highlighting this issue. I'm sure provison varies according to the establishment, but it is truly shocking that it is almost always the most vulnerable people in society that end up at the bottom of the pile/back of the queue/end of the list.

  2. Absolutely, and if society knew what was good for it, what was good for its long term survival, those people with 'deficiencies' would not only be properly looked after but also respected and admired for the way they survive and indeed compensate for their particular sensory lacking.

    People would be looking to learn from them even, rather than the unnecessary suffering such people are made to bear in the world today.

    It'll probably be too late for the powers that be when they discover the meaning of the saying "the first shall be last and the last shall be first".

    In the meantime however, there is a world to win.

    Love the post Ben, and the title in particular; 'the stupid leading the blind' is very funny.

  3. Disabellism is rife in our society you can call some one a mong. But if you use the N or P words you get jumped on. Attacks on disabelled is still not a hate crime. Also this new coalition has labelled the sick poor as the scurge of societies ills. The waya a society treats it most vunerable is a measure of the humanity of the society.

    Me and my daughter have been victims, whilst shopping come up and say she a bit big to be being pushed isn't she. Also we got a bus once and the driver said can't she get out of the chair and walk. I went home in tears don,t you think she would be walking if she could.

    Also it costs money to provide proper support and care and the most vunerable cannot kick up a fuss or be able to organise the media for campaigning.So they are cut

  4. "the first shall be last and the last shall be first". Thanks Infamous for reminding us of these words of Jesus Christ.

    There is such terrible injustice in our society. We must all do whatever we can, where we can, to show love to our brothers and sisters and to bring about change.


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