Last week the government announced the closure of seven small goals around the country, becasue their age and location makes them financially nonviable. A new ‘super prison’ from 2000 male prisoners will be opened in due course. This is tacit acknowledgement that prison doesn’t work.
Small local prisons offer prisoners geographical proximity to family support; time to build appropriate relationships with officers and other staff who challenge their behaviour in a local context; personalised restorative justice programmes; and specific educational and release strategies.
Super prisons are holding pens for human beings, where services are more likely to be generic and less likely to individually challenge the offending behaviour of those incarcerated.
If the government thought that prison worked they would working with prisoners as individuals, to bring about change. But I don’t believe that anyone can see super prisons as anything more than places to remove individuals from society – useful sometimes in the short term, but irrelevant in the long term without intervention. SO frustrating!