Saturday, 12 January 2013

Mark Serwotka and Justice

Mark Serwotka has waded into the debate about closing down jails and replacing with so-called Titan super jails.

The Public and Commercial Services Union do represent members working for the Ministry of Justice (but not the Prison officers) and at this time, it is a timely revisit of the debate on the point of prisons with the change from Kenneth Clarke to Chris Grayling as the Secretary of State for Justice. Chris Grayling is known to take a more hawkish approach to prisons and sentencing

The debate should centre round whether prison works in terms of punishment and rehabilitation.

We should also be looking at overcrowding and how best to manage young offenders.

We should look at the high levels of suicide in jail and whether prison is the best place for single parents who fail to pay their TV licence fines. 

We should be looking at the current fall in number of prisoners in prison and seeing if that is a blip or a symptom of a longer term decline in recorded crime.

What we should not be doing, is a catch all, simplistic argument against super jails by automatically tacking on arguments against privatisation to every policy proposed by the coalition government.

Even as a PCS member, reading his comment in the Independent, my thought was not, "well argued Mark"; but "what was the point of his intervention?"

Mark with his comments as selectively quoted in the Independent, is giving the impression that prisons should stay open in order to safeguard the jobs of his members which has the irony from completely detracting from his overall message over the impact and extent of the cuts that the government are implementing.

This is not the best approach to the debate on what prison is for, how it should be funded and how to achieve the outcome of reduced offending.

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