Some of you may have seen that the High Court ruled last month that the Ministry of Justice’s blanket ban on prisoners having books sent from friends and family was unlawful. The judge even said that it was “strange” to class books as a privilege.
What was confirmed is something I have been saying for some time, that the ban on getting packages sent in pre-dates the “new” Incentives and Earned Privileges policy which kick-started the whole campaign, by a number of years. But regardless of when and how it all came in, the campaign was welcome nevertheless.
What concerns me is just how strange prison policy sometimes is. For example, on the very same day that the court ruled it was unlawful and strange to ban prisoners from getting books sent in, I received a note from the prison censors’ department saying that a friend had sent me two cards which they would be withholding on the grounds that “home-made cards are not allowed”!
But it isn’t the first time this has happened. A couple of years ago my mum sent me what I presume to have been a really nice card. I say presume because I don’t actually know. When I received it all that there was was a plain white card made out of really nice paper with the residue of some glue on the front. There was nothing more in the envelope. When I spoke to her about it it turned out that it had once had a really nice home-made rose on it made out of various kinds and colours of fabric. However, it wasn’t one my mum had made herself, which censors had had to rip apart due to security concerns. It was actually a card which she had bought from the prison shop whilst visiting me! If there really is a concern about such cards being sent in, then why sell them? Sometimes I have to wonder if they think these things through at all.