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Anorak | Up With The Jailbirds

Up With The Jailbirds

by | 17th, January 2006

‘MOST of us will never enjoy a stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Until binge drinking, smoking and using mobile phones in public places become criminal offences punishable by a spell in choky, only a small percentage of us will know what it’s like to be locked up in jail.

But take it from one who knows that prison is something best avoided. Anne Owers, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons, is of the opinion that, despite appearances to the contrary, prison is no 1950s holiday camp.

Leading a study into life at the Category-B Leeds Jail, Owers asked the inmates to discuss things they didn’t like about prison.

After much deliberating, and a full and frank exchange of views, the lags decided that some staff “were not respectful towards them”.

Owers agrees. “We heard too many staff referring to prisoners as ‘bodies’ or ‘cons’,” says she. The Express hears Owers say that this is “outdated and disrespectful terminology”. To bring the vernacular into the modern era, dissing the homeboys is wack.

And then there’s what Owers calls the “overly regimented” regime in the segregation room, where prisoners who break prison rules are sent.

As Owers says in her report: “Prisoners had to be up and dressed by 7:30am and make an application if they wanted a shower.” The prisoners complained that is they weren’t up and ready in time they would be barred from taking part in the day’s activities. As the Express’s headline says: “Let crooks stay in bed.”

Naturally enough, Owers’s observations have not gone down well with everyone. “This is political correctness gone beserk,” says Brian Caton, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association.

“Why should prisoners get a lie-in when the rest of us have to get up for work?” asks Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust.

We are uncertain how to best answer Mr Brennan’s question, and can only suggest that the prisoners have got things sussed.

Indeed, it might be time you thought of a career change. As you make the long march from bed to bathroom at some ungodly hour, imagine how much better life would be if you took up a new challenge, like bank robbery. And how great your life would be if you got caught…’



Posted: 17th, January 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink