Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blair doesn't get it....


In 1961, at the height of the long post-war boom, there were 31,500 people in prison in Britain. A quarter of a century later that number had risen to 51,000. The prison population has now reached 80, 000, exactly double what it was 12 months ago. There are currently 137 prisons holding men, women and children in England and Wales. But they are too few it would seem. Two rather unappetising options present themselves: sending convicts to police cells-a waste of police time and manpower- or releasing prisoners early. Neither are acceptable measures. Indeed, the government is to consider using prison ships as a way of tackling the growing crisis of overcrowding in jails, according to media reports today.Yet, even The Guardian was discussing the issue 4 and a half years ago. The dangers of prison overcrowding were much debated back then. And long before then. This is not a new problem.Media reports claim that 47 prisoners were now being held in police cells to deal with the shortage of prison places after police forces made 240 places available.

Clearly, the government has failed to act on prisons because it has had more important issues to spend tax-payers money on.In August 2006, we learnt that developing the controversial ID cards scheme has cost the government £46.4 million over the past three years. To put that figure in perspective, Kilmarnock Prison which opened in 1999 and is able to hold up to 700 prisoners was built at a cost of £33 million. This week, it was revealed that the fees paid to experts from PA Consulting to work on the ID card scheme equate to an average weekly wage of £6,360, assuming a 40-hour week. Phil Booth of the No2ID campaign against the scheme described the consultants' pay rate as "absolutely appalling". He said: "The Home Office is shovelling money into a black hole at an ever-increasing rate. Management consultants must be lining up at the trough to get a share of all this spending."The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have said the money for ID cards - £8 billion, according to the government, but up to £20 billion according to independent estimates - would be better spent on conventional policing and security measures.

Blair still disagrees.

This is a classic instance of NuLabour having squandered the public's money on marginal obsessions while pressing issues remain totally unaddressed. A very strange sense of priorities...

8 comments:

TomTom said...

13.000 Prisoners are On Remand because Courts don't sit until 10am, break for lunch at 1pm and then continue from 2pm to 4.30pm.

12.000 Prisoners are foreigners, and around 2500 of these are Jamaican

The population is 61.5 million officially + illegals and rising............their are 486 million EU Citizens with the right to settle in the UK

Is 80.000 a sufficient number os prison slots for a country so congested and open to convicts (with spent convictions) throughout the EU ?

So a child molester, armed robber, forger, released early from a prison in Bulgaria or Poland or Cyprus could come quite legally to live in the UK and we have nowhere to put him...............maybe he could move in with LCJ Phillips who seems to be the most unworldly of Chief Justices ?

They should employ the prisoners to built their own prison from concrete pre-fab units and encircle it with an electrified wall built by contractors.

Ellee said...

Good data from tomtom, I love data.

Anyway, it seems our prisoners are now destined for the ocean waves. Do you have such facilities, or indeed such a problem as overcrowded prisons in Istanbul? We can't be the only country with this difficulty.

istanbultory said...

Certainly, Turkish prisons have something of a deserved reputation for being over-crowded and violent. Although there haven't been too many prison riots of late. Plans to build new prisons are afoot but are proceeding slowly.

Peter Hitchen's schlong said...

Lock 'em up. Cherie's no better than he is.

CityUnslicker said...

as Tomtom points out re numbers. It is important to note that the rise in our population would mean we would need 90,000 places even if we locked up the same percentage as in 1960. ecen the extra million growth in the past three years would mean we need 10,000 new place, yet there has been no new building.

The government is guilty of many things; but this is sheer incompetence.

istanbultory said...

As I pointed out in my original post, they have been plenty busy beavering away on the ID scheme. But couldn't be bothered to handle the prisons crisis with the same enthusiasm.

Voyager said...

My only other suggestion is a Prison Lottery.............with every tenth prisoner being shot to make space for new entrants...................then we can have Decimation Days..........and it might help prison discipline.

It seems Selection has been retained for prisons rather than schools, and the Govt seems totally unprepared for Comprehensive "Inclusivity" in prison provision.................clearly it is only Universities that must take all regardless of qualification whereas prisons cannot accommodate all who qualify !

Voyager said...

It is Virtual Reality...........ID cards are abstract.........Prisons are concrete............these politicians are fantasists