“Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality.”
From ‘The Relation of Art to Morals’
by John Ruskin
The Ministry of Justice under Chris Grayling recently published a new Prison Service Instruction detailing a number of changes to the prison system. Many of these changes are designed to encourage prisoners to engage in what they call ‘purposeful activity’ and ‘rehabilitation’. The aim of this is to enable changes in attitudes by requiring prisoners to work for privileges. On one level it is an admirable effort reminiscent of the above quote by John Ruskin. Life without industry is guilt, it’s true. Work purifies the soul. But this very same instruction has other effects too.
This instruction lists all of the items which prisoners are permitted to hold in their possession and, removed from this list, are electric guitars and any acoustic guitars which have metal strings (which are the vast majority). Furthermore, it has become impossible in many jails for prisoners to buy paints and, at HMP Wakefield, prisoners have even had their creative writing taken from them by the security department without any reason being given.