Once Shy, Twice Bitten

What a lot of people don’t realise is just how hard it can be to do the right thing in prison. Not because it is inherently difficult to try but because, when you do try, you are often pushed further and further to see if you’ll keep trying. This happened to me recently when I bit my tongue in an effort to keep my head down, but was almost immediately required to bite it again for my trouble.

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The Perfect Sentence

Given that I am an indeterminate sentenced prisoner who feels failed by ‘the system’ and kept in prison far longer than necessary it may come to your surprise that I actually support the existence of indeterminate sentences and, in fact, think that there should be far more of them. Here is how such sentences run now, and how I’d like to see them run.

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Prison Tech Update

I’ve previously written about the rules concerning such things as visits and letters to prisoners. These posts were quite widely read but there have been a number of important changes over the past couple of years so I thought I should post a short update.

It used to be the case that you could only visit a convicted prisoner if they sent you a Visiting Order. This is no longer the case. Most prisons (including HMP Wakefield from last year) have introduced a new booking procedure where the prisoner adds someone to their approved visitors list and the visitor can then book a visit online via prisonvisits.service.gov.uk whenever they want. It is no longer necessary for the prisoner to send a visiting order at all. In addition, when this system was introduced, everyone who had previously visited a prisoner at their current establishment was added to the approved visitors list automatically so that prisoners don’t have to add a person to their list if they have already had visits with them.

Secondly, a new system for sending money to prisoners has also been introduced. Using gov.uk/send-prisoner-money you can make a wire transfer of money to a prisoner. The advantage of this over previous methods, is that it is free (as opposed to Postal Orders which tend to cost around 10% extra), it is instant (as opposed to cheques which still take around a month to be cleared into a prisoner’s account for them to use), and it is secure (as opposed to cash which has a habit of going missing somewhere between being posted and being received by the prisoner).

It seems that the prison service is finally accepting that it cannot resist the twenty-first century. Hope that info helps, folks.

Prison Canteen: Every Little Helps

The recent news that Tesco is to merge with the nations biggest wholesaler, Booker, wouldn’t usually spring out as a story that is relevant to prisons, but it could well have far reaching implications within Britain’s jails. Not least because Booker has an exclusive contract to supply the weekly canteen order of all prisoners in public sector prisons.

 

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