Prisons in the press – 22 January

Prison officers sacked, legal highs and Dave the Minion in this week’s news

... Image: Marek Kubica

Prison guards scolded for using nicknames to describe prisoners. Image: Marek Kubica


Prisons in the press brings you the best articles from the past week to keep you up-to-date on prison news.


Hot off the press

Make local councils pay to cut prison populations. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research says cash held by Whitehall to cover custody should be given to local authorities to improve services such as drug and alcohol dependency programmes to help prevent offending. The Herald Scotland has the story.


Revealed this week

  1. Suffolk prison sold to housing developer. HMP Blundeston, which closed in 2013, has been bought by Badger Building for £3 million as part of the Ministry of Justice’s reorganisation of UK prisons. The BBC has more.
  2. Former inmates tell MPs how to stop people re-offending. Two men – Chris Smith and Kyren Barrett – who have served a combined total of 11 stints in prison, shared their experiences with a select committee on Tuesday in a bid to improve the way young offenders are dealt with. Crawley News has the story.
  3. When prison guards are violent, blame culture – not bad apples. Jessica Pishko for The Guardian says training for correctional officers in US fosters an ‘us versus them’ philosophy. That causes them to see their job as a war zone where violence is the norm.


A bad week for prison officers  

  1. Prison officers fall victim to legal highs. According to the Prison Officers Association officers are being taken to hospital suffering from the effects of inhaling legal highs used by inmates. The Guardian has the full story.
  2. Officers sacked after allowing inmate to have sex with his girlfriend. Guards at HMP Swaleside, in Sheppey, have been fired after it emerged they allegedly uncuffed violent inmate Declan Madgian during his stay at Medway Maritime Hospital so he could have sex with his girlfriend. KentOnline has more.
  3. Female prison officer arrested over alleged affair with convicted killer. The officer at HMP Maghaberry in Northern Ireland has since been suspended from duty, while it is understood the prisoner in question has been moved to an isolation unit within the jail. The Belfast Telegraph has the story.


News is context: Charge local councils for jail costs to cut prison numbers

By charging local authorities the full cost of a prison bed, they will be deterred from putting lower-level offenders in jail, finds a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The Telegraph reports Michael Gove has acknowledged that the government won’t be able to deliver substantial savings or improvements in rehabilitation rates until it tackles the “revolving door” of low level adult offenders who end up in prison as a result of social ills such as drug addiction, mental health problems and earlier abuse.

By .

Image: IPPR

Image: IPPR


Jonathan Clifton, associate director for Public Services at IPPR, said:

“Our prisons are overflowing and we have the highest re-offending rate in Western Europe. Reform is desperately needed to reduce offending.

“We need to free up cash that is frozen in the prison system, and give it to local areas to invest in tackling the social problems that drive re-offending such as lack of qualifications, mental health problems and homelessness.”


In other news 

Prison guards scolded for calling a short prisoner Dave the Minion – after the 3ft yellow creatures in the Despicable Me films. Wardens at HMP Rochester in Kent were told to treat prisoners with respect and that nicknames should not be used on cell doors. The Mirror has the story.


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