High suicide statistics, theft of TK Max clothing, animal porn and prison officers continue to resign in droves

This Week In Britain’s Prisons

 

Rate of Suicide in Scottish Prisons Higher than Estimated

Delays in determining causes of death in Scottish prisons have led to an underestimation on the number of suicides happening.

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) reported the suicide rate as 125 per 1000 prisoners in 2015-2018. This is a much higher rate than in the UK and Wales and is 10 times the rate for the general Scottish population.

After the deaths of Katie Allen and William Lindsay last year, HM Inspectorate of Prisons published a review of mental health provision at Polmont Young Offenders Institution. The report identified systematic failings and a lack of care for those at risk.

The SCCJR is comprised of several academics from four of Scotland Universities; they provided evidence for the review of mental health provision.

SCCJR director Sarah Armstrong said: “Suicide is the leading cause of death of young people in prison in Scotland and so it is essential that the data captured on this is both robust and independently verified to ensure accuracy of further research.” She added that the data provided by the Scottish Prison Service varied greatly, one report contradicted itself saying there were 22 suicides between 2011 and 2104, but the SPS’s own analysis says there were 31.

The family of Katie Allen independently researched deaths in custody earlier this year; they found that over the past ten years, 40 per cent of prisoner deaths were suicides.

£17k worth of clothes stolen by TK Max employee to pay off gambling debts

A TK Max employee has been spared jail after admitting to stealing £17k pounds worth of clothes and accessories from his employer.

Polish-born Rafal Matysiak, 33, had racked up £30,000 of gambling debts and needed a quick way to pay them off. Stealing from his employer was his solutions Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

He was caught when his bosses began monitoring his movements on CCTV and watched him take £9,679 worth of god over six days. He vaulted over a barrier into an area he was banned from and took the goods which he then hid in his locker. He moved them to his car at the end of his shift.

Matysiak admitted the thefts had been going on for 18 months, he had begun by taking low-value items he thought no one wanted and graduated to the more expensive items over time. He then sold them at cut prices to ensure quick sales.

Matysiak, a father of three, was ashamed of his actions and wanted to repay TK Max. Robert Tolhurst, defending said Matysiak had taken steps to change his lifestyle and stop gambling, and this behaviour was out of character. The judge took this into consideration in his sentencing.

Matysiak was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and must attend a rehabilitation course and do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community.

Cumbrian Convicted of Possessing Extreme Animal Porn

Matthew Ronald Francis, 42, from Cumbria’s Eden Valley has avoided jail after being convicted of possessing extreme pornographic images. The judge presiding called them “dreadful”.

His girlfriend had made disclosures to a friend who reported them to the police, who then searched his house. 354 extreme pornographic images – 253 of which remained accessible were found on his laptop.

The images showed adults involved in sexual activities with horses, dogs and even an electric eel!

Francis received an eight month suspended sentence and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work as well as a community order of a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.

Francis must abide by the strict terms of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Labour Warns Prison Violence is Leading to a Rising Number of Officer Resignations,

Increasing violence in Britain’s prisons is leading to prison officers leaving their jobs after less than a year in post according to Labour.

In 2010 before the massive cuts to the prison service, only 61 officers left the service after 2 months, in 2018 this rose to a whopping 915. Shadow Minister Imran Hussein calls it a real crisis and has demanded a proper strategy to address prison violence be committed to.

£70 million has been invested in the prison system in the last two years to make them safer for both officers and inmates. The problem lies with the number of inexperienced staff in the prisons; over 9488 prison officers have less than three years on the job. Although over 3000 officers have been hired since 2016, it takes a while to train them thoroughly.

Shadow Minister Imran Hussain said, “We need a proper way to address the violence and overcrowding in prisons.” He added that the loss of even three years experience makes it much harder to run the prisons safely.

The prison service says they want prison officers to stay and progress their careers and that training and support have been much improved. But Mark Fairhurst, national chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association said recruiting more officers doesn’t solve the problem of the increasing violence in prisons which inexperienced officer have to face. He continued by saying, “Once new staff experience their violent workplace very few stay.”

Increased pay, training and incentives to experienced staff would be a first step in the right direction to retaining high quality officers. However, controlling the drug supply into jails and reducing violence is also of critical importance to retaining officers.

But which comes first?

Can you reduce violence before having experienced officers or do you need experienced officers to reduce violence, but like the proverbial chicken and egg problem!

New Report Condemns HMP Exeter’s Progress on Tackling Drugs and Violence

A new report has revealed HMP Exeter is not doing enough to deal with the drugs and violence on its wings. Last year it was told to take immediate steps to improve safety for inmates, but inspectors said in the new report the prison has failed to implement a new strategy or toughen up the existing one.

The prison has failed to implement over half the recommendation from the last report in May 2018. This included failure to implement a comprehensive drug strategy. Peter Clarke HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said that if the prison implemented an effective drug strategy it would also bring down the increasing levels of violence.

Peter Clark did commend the prison on progress in some other areas and could see some attempts had been made to reduce the violence. Plans were being drafted for both drugs and violence reduction strategies that seemed promising. Clarke was curious to know why this could not have been done sooner?

The Government is understood to be in the process of recruiting a specialist drugs lead for the South West, who will support HMP Exeter’s efforts to reduce drug use.

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2019-05-24T18:37:44+01:00
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