Monday, March 12, 2012

The New Boss

The arrival of a new Governor is always accompanied by rumours of change. As the last operational posting of the new man was to be in charge of closing a prison, the urge to attach particular significance to this unfortunate past is unstoppable in certain quarters.
The staff union, the POA, is foremost in attempting to read the Runes and have concluded that Sudbury has only one of three potential futures.
Firstly, to close it down. Quite why this would happen is a leap of imagination as the place seems to make a fair hash its job and is said to be at a good position in the national prison rankings (yes, such a thing exists). There is not an abundance of places in Open prisons and they are the cheapest part of the prison system to run. So why close Sudbury?
Secondly, to re-role Sudbury to being a Category C prison. That would involve massive expense, building a secure perimeter, secure compounds...the bill for putting bars on each window alone would turn the Treasury pale. So, massive investment to upgrade a fifty year old infrastructure. Why bother? Just build a new Cat-C nick, it would probably be cheaper.
And thirdly, and the option the POA suspects most, is to privatise Sudbury, flog it off to one of the big incarceral multinationals. The ones with dodgy records for human rights abuses abroad seem to be favoured.
Although there are no privately run Open prisons, this option makes the most sense. Being cheap to operate - low staff levels - and with workshop facilities and slave labour already in place, then the potential for a more business-orientated management to make a few quid seems obvious.
The only question is, why change at all? And why is the arrival of a new Governor invariably accompanied by a flurry of rumours?


  1. a question just how much power does a governor have and how much is he/she tied by rules. Can one really change things that much?

  2. Just as long as you have a bunch of headless "Toff" chickens in Government, who think that Our Nation, can be sold to the highest bidder abroad, then say they run the Nation, are asking for very serious scenarios to happen.
    British Justice, and Law, is not for sale to anyone abroad, no matter how much they are willing to pay. This would be classed as High Treason not so long ago! To myself, it still is!

  3. Alistair, Governors are hugely impotent, being lumbered with several layers of management all of which insist on imposing constraints and agendas. Whatever the new guy does, it will be at the behest of his bosses. Ben.

    1. Too much of 'the Governor' stuff is left over from the victorian era when Governor's made the first attempts at reforming prisoners and not just punishment. Unfortunately the Home Office never thought to change the system away from what can best be considered a personality culture within the prison service, so every governor has to change things around, whether he/she thinks the changes are actually for the better or not, because if they're not stamping their mark on something, they're not the Governor!

      Incase you haven't guessed yet i'm a prison admin worker!


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