Skip to main content

Grayling's Fetish with prison uniforms and televisions.

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling,  has instituted a new regime in our prisons. Prisoners will have to 'earn' privileges. In the new regime they'll start off with very few 'perks' and work their way up. For the first two weeks male prisoners will wear uniforms. 

I always feel there is something rather fetishistic about Tory approaches to crime and punishment. Remember the "short, sharp shock" of the boot camp days? But this is rather more a pandering to public  perception,  and the need to be assured that prisoners are 'punished'.  It is not enough that they are deprived of their freedom; no we must be sure they are humiliated as much as possible. We must see them beg for mercy, pay for their crimes. Perhaps, no certainly, when they are in the prison yard they should not only have a uniform with spots on but also be in leg-irons. Their exercise should be pacing up and down like caged bears. 

I suspect there are a few, perhaps many, who would love to bring back the stocks and throw eggs and rotten vegetables at wrong-doers in the town square. I confess to thinking that would be good, but not very civilised. I also have no doubt there are a few 'floggers' too who yearn for a few public floggings.

 Grayling defends his changes by saying: "For too long the public has seen prisoners spending their days languishing in their cells watching TV, using illegal mobile phones to taunt their victims on Facebook or boasting about their supposedly easy life in prisons. This is not right and it cannot continue."

Personally I have never seen prisoners spending their time doing any of these things, although I am sure they do. It would be like watching paint dry spending days watching prisoners do such things. I really wonder how many people have spent such time. Clearly Mr Grayling does have such a past time. I suppose that is what justice secretaries are meant to do, watch prisoners languishing in jail. 

I asked my neighbour how many times she had seen prisoners watching TV. "What?" she responded incredulously. "What do you mean?" she continued, somewhat suspiciously, as if I had accused her of something rather dreadful. Anyway, the upshot is she hadn't seen any prisoner doing such a thing, ever, although she did confess to having seen prisoners watching TV on TV. 

So what did she think about it? I asked her. "Think about what?" She replied. Prisoners watching TV, I pressed on. "Oh, well I haven't really thought about it at all." She said. "Why are you asking?" Again rather suspiciously. She didn't know anyone in prison she went on to say, rather suspicious that I was 'accusing' her of doing so. "Anyway, Ray, I imagine they watch an awful lot of TV."  Why is that? I asked. "Well what else is there for them to do?" 

The new regime is all a bit of ill-thought through nonsense. But it is also dangerous nonsense. It is more likely than not to create boredom and frustration, increased tension and violence. It is plain stupidity. 








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working

Therapeutic animal stress

Interacting with animals is known to be therapeutic,  particularly in reducing stress.  But do we consider sufficiently the effects this may have on the animals involved?   We might assume that because it is calming for us, then it must be so for the therapeutic animals, but is this so?  New research suggests that it isn't always without stress for the animals involved.  Positive human-animal interaction relates to changes in physiological variables both in humans and other animals, including a reduction of subjective psychological stress (fear, anxiety) and an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain.  It also reduces the 'stress' hormone, cortisol. Indeed, these biological responses have measurable clinical benefits.  Oxytocin has long been implicated in maternal bonding, sexual behaviour and social affiliation behaviours and in promoting a sense of well-being .  So far, so good.  We humans often turn to animals for stress relief, companionship, and even therapy.  We kno