Open Comment

Whether general feedback about this blog or specific comment about any aspect of justice and imprisonment, please feel free to leave your point of view as a comment on this page.  If you wish to reply to someone else’s point of view please ensure you attach your reply to their comment rather than the page itself.


32 thoughts on “Open Comment

  1. A recent twitter conversation has raised the topic of whether there really are some people for whom rehabilitation is impossible and, if so, how best to handle them. As it stands we use the principle of whole life sentences. Some say we should be using capital punishment. I’d be very interested to hear what you think on this subject.

      • Yep, everything from Twitter to blogging. The only thing we are categorically forbidden to use is Facebook. Personally I think this is a great thing but then, I would. What’s your opinion?

    • People who Rape and Murder children should be executed as all Nasty people who kill for there own pathetic reasons should face a lethal injection yes here in UK

      • I find it interesting that you prefer lethal injection. I wonder if this is a view shared by others and, if so, what the reason for this preference is?

    • Murder certainly is murder but can killing ever be something different? Killing in self defence isn’t legally considered murder. Killing by accident is classified as the lesser offence of manslaughter. As for killing in war, well apparently that isn’t murder either. If the state recognise the death sentence as a lawful punishment, would this really be murder, or is all killing wrong, no matter what the circumstances?

  2. I don’t believe in the death penalty either. One off murders are a mistake due to a moment of madness – alcohol, temper + drugs. Serial killers + child molesters are mentally Ill, aren’t they? They require psychological help + support from Mental Health Services.

    However, I reckon men who pretend to be ghosts in churchyards (Portsmouth) should be forced to spend a few nights in the most haunted house in Britain instead of wasting police time by behaving like an arse.

    • I think it is right that many offenders suffer from mental illness and should be helped, but by no means all of them. I liken the situation to that of a dangerous snake entering your house. You might try to catch it and remove it from your house humanely (the equivalent of removing a murderer from society to protect the public), but if you can’t find a suitable place to rehome the snake (an appropriate prison to rehabilitate the murderer) then it is a matter of time before the snake returns (the murderer reoffends) and the only rational solution would be to kill the snake to protect your family (execute the murderer to protect the public).

  3. All killing is wrong, and that is why a decent and humane society has no death penalty. There should be more facilities within prisons to rehabilitate people, especially under-25s, who make serious errors of judgement that they live to regret.
    Serial killers and sex offenders are clearly in need of psychiatric support, and may need to be removed from society for many years.
    Nobody is beyond redemption, and, as Michael Gove said recently ‘ should anyone be defined by the worst thing they’ve ever done?”

    • I find myself agreeing with most of what you say. However, I also think that whilst anyone is capable of change given the right help, you have to want to change too. In a case where there is overwhelming evidence that someone has killed and they say themselves that they will do it again, would the death penalty be an acceptable way to protect the next victim? After all, people have committed murder in prison before too.

    • No, I don’t usually listen to The Archers, though I do find myself tuning in for a week or two every year or so for some reason. Why do you ask?

    • I did read something about The Archers now featuring the story line about the new coercive abuse law. Is this the person you are referring to?

    • Very good question. Primarily, stay out. After that, anything else is a bonus. Ideally I’d like to find a way to make a living from writing but, realistically, a very small proportion of writers actually manage this. I’d like to make a difference to people who are less fortunate, too so charity work is also an option, and the idea of getting into work for penal reform has crossed my mind more than once. However, if I can’t write for a living I’d like to do any job that pays enough to live as well as giving me enough spare time to continue writing too.

  4. Why cant (male) prisoners just shut up and do their time?

    Why do so many prisoners insist on focussing on what the authorities have done wrong rather than accept if it wasn’t for their own actions they wouldn’t be in prison?

    Can you see a link between your in ability to abide by the expected standards of behaviour and the fact you are still cat A?

    • Male and female prisoners moan just as much about the broken prison system, you just hear it more from males because there are so many more of them locked up. Prisoners can’t shut up and do their time because they are being hammered from every side (prison staff, other cons, media, etc) and prevented from working towards parole by the broken system. If they shut up their time would never end.

      I don’t think I do focus only on what the authorities have done wrong. I openly admit when I have done the wrong thing (see my recent posts entitled After the Storm). However, I will also highlight when the authorities have done wrong, because I believe they should be leading by example. If they did things right far more people would lead crime free lives upon release.

      Finally, you ask if I see the link between my inability to abide by the rules and the fact that I am in Cat A still.
      1) I am not Cat A, nor have I ever been. I am Cat B but am being held (unnecessarily) in a Cat A prison.
      2) I was only transfered into a Cat A prison due to a failure on the part of prison staff to communicate with one another and I have been kept here to save face after the fact.
      3) I take full responsibility for my recent breach of prison rules. But I obeyed the rules for over 10 years without being progressed, so I don’t think you can claim that I am located in a Cat A prison due to this.
      4) I can see that I was put in prison because of my own actions and have written extensively about my regret for those actions and the fact that I think the judge was right to lock me up.
      5) Can you see the link between a system that hammers someone physically, psychologically and emotionally for over a decade (in breach of its own rules) and that person feeling a need to throw the spotlight on what prison is really like? You call it moaning, I call it sharing, reporting, educating, and in some cases, whistleblowing.

  5. Its really straight forward, you our a number. The prison or the officers very rarely care why you our there or what you think should be the case. The good ones try and support , assist and mentor cons in a reforming way the bad ones believe it is there job to punish them further .
    Prison has changed me for the better because it was so bad, I can say I never thought I would end there and the consequences of my actions outstripped my crime. It has though given my life a new perspective and I wake up glad I am now out and never going back (I hope).
    I am desperate to go back and help or mentor people on my wing , as I was doing as a con but not likely by the looks of it. If the prisons have no money surely they could use more vounteers?

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