A Wing and a Prayer

Walking onto the assessment wing here at Grendon for the first time was unlike arriving on the wing in any other prison I’ve been in. The wing gate opened onto a wide corridor and, as I pulled my trolley full of property onto the wing, I noticed that there were only half a dozen people around and there was no noise whatsoever. In most jails I’ve been to it is very different. Most are beyond loud. The sheer chatter of between 30 and 200 prisoners (dependent upon the size of the wing) all talking to one another soon mounts up into a cacophony of voices that feels like a wall of sound, separating you from the various established groups of prisoners who each stare down at you (usually over the rails of a higher landing) as you struggle on your own to heave multiple bags of heavy property behind you. But not here. Here it is different.

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Welcome to Grendon

After waking up early yesterday, I was raring to go. My time had finally come and I was to be transferred at last. We were unlocked at 5 am and I immediately did a circuit of the wing. Everyone I knew, everyone I had been a neighbour to, everyone who had been a friend to me, they would all be going to work in a matter of minutes and I couldn’t leave without saying my goodbyes.

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Raise Me Up to Let Me Down

In 2014 there were 25,775 incidents of self-harm in English and Welsh prisons. In 2015 there were 32,313 – a rise of more than 25% in a single year. What’s more, in 2015 it was found that those serving indeterminate sentences have one of the highest rates of self harm in prison, more than any other type of sentence. What is yet to be examined is whether there is a causal relationship between efforts at rehabilitation and self-harm. Continue reading

Statistical Anomaly

On the 5th of April 2016 the Acting Governor here published a Notice to Prisoners detailing how many prisoners here at HMP Wakefield have progressed to other prisons during the last quarter. She wrote that 3 category A prisoners have been transferred to PIPE units (intensive psychological treatment units), 2 category B prisoners were also transferred to PIPE units, 2 cat B prisoners were transferred to Therapeutic Community prisons (such as Grendon or Dovegate), 5 cat Bs have been transferred in order for them to access offending behaviour programs, 7 cat Bs have been transferred for other progressive reasons, and 3 cat Cs were transferred to category C prisons. During the same period 1 prisoner was recategorised from cat A to cat B, and 11 were recategorised from cat B to cat C. Meanwhile, 3 category B prisoners were released from this prison at the direction of the Parole Board. However, it is what follows these numbers which I dispute and, in my own opinion, is highly dishonest. Continue reading