I notice, unless I am mistaken, that Philip Hammond has not mentioned the prison service in his latest budget. One could imagine three reasons for this:
- He is not aware of the disgusting conditions in which prisoners are forced to live and, as a consequence, prison service employees are expected to work in, particularly in B Cat prisons.
- He thinks the conditions are appropriate.
- He does not care or, to be kind, does not think the situation requires urgent attention, even though lives are at stake.
If any of the above represented the reason for not taking action in what are amusingly called Her Majesty’s Prisons (I wonder what she, or a member of her family, would say if they were actually invited to inspect one), then I would simply invite Mr. Hammond to spend a couple of nights at Wandsworth to improve his understanding, experience the real conditions and be better able to decide on budgetary priorities.
The sad fact is that the most likely reason for the government’s lack of action is that putting money into prisons is unlikely to win many votes, especially given the reaction that that would cause from the gutter press. That is where we can all play a part!
I heard on the radio this morning that MPs were seeking tougher sentences for certain categories of crime, I cannot remember which crilmes they were speaking about. It is of no importance for me until they are also prepared to answer the question “…. and where we are going to house these prisoners?”
Let me leave you, for now, with the ideas above, but let me add, for those that think that our sole priority should be the National Health Service, that throwing ex-prisoners on to our streets, homeless in temporary accommodation, engaged in aggressive substance abuse or suffering from mentally illness, only places an unnecessary burden on our social services including the NHS.