Ken Clarke kickstarts prison economy
PLANS are for prisoners to work for high street companies. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Minister, says “prison is just a warehouse”. Given the right training prisons can work better. Right now, Clarke says prison is boring. It’s not nearly as interesting as the brochures and TV shows tell you it is. Once you’ve masturbated, brushed your teeth, counted the bars on the window, counted the cracks in the paint, counted the hairs on your eyebrows and made your bed it’s mostly just sitting around and being punished.
We went to see prisoners repairing shoes at a Timpson training academy for prisoners at HMP Blantyre House, Kent. Shoe repairing goes hand-in-hand with key cutting. Are the lags being given the skills to burgle premises and then have it away on their shiny toes? And what will such skills do to the prison economy? Is a new heel and a buffed boot worth more than an extra scoop of mashed potato, a hand job or 20 Benson & Hedges?