(c) Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
From the Observer today:
‘Observer analysis of inspection reports shows two in five jails are unsafe and inadequate conditions prevail in over two-thirds. The scale of the crisis engulfing Britain’s (sic) prisons can be revealed, after an Observer investigation found that two-thirds are providing inmates with inadequate conditions or unacceptable treatment. An analysis of hundreds of inspections covering 118 institutions found that a staggering 68% are now providing unsatisfactory standards in at least one respect, with two in five jails deemed to be unacceptably unsafe.’
It’s only when we get down to the ninth paragraph that we read:
‘The Observer investigation found that in the most recent inspections of adult prisons in England and Wales, 80 out of the 118 jails examined were providing insufficient or poor standards in at least one area.’
and that this might be due to a 30% staffing cut since 2010 under Home Secretary, Theresa May.
I know, we’re all used to the conflation of UK with England but surely the ‘intelligent’ Observer could get it right? As you’ll see, I’m ‘sic’ (Latin for ‘thus was it written’; prætentious mē?) of pointing it out.
But, wait a minute Jacobus, surely Scottish prisons are even rougher and proud of it (?) but, no, it seems we have another sign of the softening of the Scots like the lower homicide, domestic abuse and knife-handling rates that I’ve reported here. See this from David Strang (sounds like a strongman), HM Inspector Prisons (Scotland):
‘As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS), I am responsible for the inspection and monitoring of the conditions in prison and the treatment of prisoners. The general conditions in prisons have improved in recent years, as old prisons have been replaced or refurbished and new prisons have been built. The majority of prisons have modern facilities and residential accommodation of a suitable standard. Across the 15 prisons in Scotland, prisoners have generally told me that they feel safe. It is a fundamental requirement of a well-run prison that people who live and work there should feel confident in its stability and order. We should never take for granted the good order that is maintained in Scotland’s prisons and that they are in general stable and secure environments.’
I met an older (even) Jock (it’s not racist when another Jock says it) yesterday, who was keen to have a wee rant about how the younger generation don’t remember and take pride in the old fighting Scots regiments and their willingness to die in battle at twice the rate of those soft English regiments. He’d be devastated by this news.