Thursday, 19 May 2016

I am an anarchist : telling lies about our prisons

In the days leading up to yesterday's Queen's Speech, the UK government's pronouncements about our "failing prisons" not being "fit for purpose" (very selectively reinforced by the recently government appointed head of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, ex-counter-terrorist policeman, Peter Clarke) left me with the impression that some uninvited, unidentified foreign body had invaded the prison system and was responsible for the devastating assault that has been made upon it in recent years. Yesterday Her Majesty, instructed by the Prime Minister, David Cameron on the advice of Michael Gove, our Minister of Justice, told us that her government is now going to make right all that is wrong in our prisons by putting into place rehabilitation and education resources which will make Nirvana of our institutes of incarceration.

Who can disagree with this ?  Well, in all this what is not mentioned in any of the headlines is that the travesty that now fills the space of our formerly good, if far from perfect prison service, was brought about by Michael Gove's predecessor, Christopher Grayling, who, with David Cameron's approval, took the decision to cut the staffing levels of our prison service, in the face of an ever-growing prisoner population, by more than 30%. Yes, 30%.  The Conservative led coalition government and the current Conservative one have, with their drastic chopping of staff during the last 6 years, destroyed the very services they  now claim to be "introducing" to the prison service.

The period the government has spent wrecking rehabilitation and education resources in prisons has seen increasingly inhumane living conditions for prisoners, as well as a dramatic downturn in the morale of the service because the growing pressures on a speedily decreasing number of officers have made it impossible for them to be as effective as they would wish in helping prisoners. Will our government give back to the prisoners these 6 years of deprivation? Will it admit liability for the way it has failed the prison service?

The spurious presentation of issues and information is a characteristic of our government and indeed many politicians.  The nature of their behaviour is accurately represented as dissembling and  disingenuousness as they deny any responsibility for their failures. People who are less prolix and less pompous than me call, this "Telling lies."

If this is government, I don't need it. I am now an anarchist.
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