Saturday, December 15, 2007


Jesus knew a bit about being “banged up” and punished. Today in Britain we have record numbers of people in jail and we are intending to create facilities to jail 7.5 thousand more, if this is not a sign of a society heading in the wrong direction then I don’t know what is.

We continue to mirror America where there are more people locked up per head of the population than anywhere else in the world yet to Bush it’s the “home of the brave and the land of the free” this is what capitalism requires to survive, a large prison population.

That population is overwhelmingly taken from the poorer sections of society, the losers under this system, and those from minority groups are most likely to be in jail.
Look at America, grotesque politicians arguing with each other to prove who is the most devout Christian in a country that is fabulously wealthy but where you can’t walk the streets, these people and many of our own Christian nutters would have locked up Jesus and thrown away the key.

Having been in many prisons I can assure you that this is the worst time for anyone to be locked up, in the West people of all faiths and none enjoy Christmas because of it’s traditions and message. It’s a special time for children and family and for prisoners that makes it more miserable, imagine being in a cell on Christmas Eve if you have a partner and kids on the outside, it must be hellish.

How astonishing is it then that the Govt. now proposes to introduce a new system which will increase the “bang up” time and reduce the time spent on training and association for prisoners, lock up will now start on Friday lunch time and the time spent locked in a cell will be approx. 54 hrs. out of the 68 Hrs. which end on Monday morning, this is designed to save an annual £60 m. I reckon it will cost more than that in the long term with less rehabilitation and more mind numbing senseless punishment.

A recent survey revealed that 80% of prisoners have two or more mental health problems for which they are not being treated, what will this proposal do to them ?
Take a long term criminal with a history of violence and mental health problems, lock him up for 54 out of 68 Hrs. over the weekend and, then unlock his door on Monday and wish him a cheery good morning, how do you fancy that job ?

This is a scandal and successive Govt’s are guilty including my own, an absolute scandal. When the mental health in prison report came out I asked the Governor of Barlinnie to comment on the 80 % figure, he was not keen to talk about it but I pressed on and he eventually plucked a figure out of the air and said “in Barlinnie it would be about 30 % “ he would not speculate as to why Barlinnie was apparently so much better off, he simply wouldn’t dare, another Scandal.

Say what you like about prison, about those who are in prison, say what you like about our society but don’t try to say we are civilised, our prisons show that we are not.


Rory Maxwell said...

I wish you'd stop writing about prisons... I can't really cope when I agree with you and, on this one subject, I think you're, pretty much, correct.

Surreptitious Evil said...


Which study? The 1998 study referenced by the 2004 Social Exclusion Unit report, the Nov 2005 "Prison Mental Health" study, or something more recent?

A link would be ideal. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The study actually showed "7 out of 10" which is 70%. and of that they class "personalty disorder" as a mental health issue. Some would say being criminally minded is a personality disorder.

Nice way to shoe-horn an anti-american rant into your post but you don't explain why you think that capitalism requires a large prison population.

Anonymous said...

"imagine being in a cell on Christmas Eve if you have a partner and kids on the outside, it must be hellish"

imagine not commiting crime and being free to enjoy a big huge turkey.

are you saying that all prisoners should be freed for christmas?

Folded at Dawn said...

Startling. The first Terry Kelly blog post I agree with. Prisons are utterly inadequate and reform is needed and we should ignore those on all sides of the political divide who believe that 'locking criminals up for ever' is going to be successful.

Anonymous said...

I have to commend you Terry- this is the best post you have ever written. Rather than just launch into your usual partisan attacks you actually assessed the situation logically and came up with interesting conclusions. Well done.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - This is consistant with most of my comments.

It's hardly my fault if you fail to appreciate quality is it ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Max) 16/12/07 disagreeing with me on most things except prisons means that you might have at least one shred of decency, albeit well hidden.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Surreptitious Evil) 12:26 Series of big articles, ran for several days in the Guardian, perhaps a year ago.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 16:10 - see my answer to surreptitious evil for source - America locks up more people per head than any other country in the world and they are the leading capitalist country and we follow them. The large prison population has always been there because Capitalism can’t satisfy everyone and creates losers who turn to crime, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that but I don’t want to confuse you.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 16:17 not all prisoners only the mass murderers.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Soddball) 18:01 - we are stuck with the view that prisons are to punish and nothing else, very few politicians have the bottle to tackle this, just look at America, it’s getting worse and we are building more to keep up with them.