British prisoners each to have a private land line telephone

All inmates, including killers and rapists, will be able to speak to friends and loved ones ‘in private’ any time, day or night.

No Rhyme, No Reason

by Mustang – our man on the beat in the UK.

There are 118 prisons in the United Kingdom and somewhere in the neighborhood of 83,000 prisoners.  As in America, there are problems inside these prisons.  One problem (among several) is that inmates have to queue in order to use a limited number of pay telephones.  The result of this is that there are incidents of conflict and violence as prisoners compete to use prison telephones.  Not only that, these long lines to use prison phones has led to illegally smuggled in mobile phones and sim cards —and these in turn have resulted in an increase of illicit activities, such as running gangs, unlawful drug deals, threatening or harassing witnesses, ordering terrorists attacks, and things of that sort.

Well, we can’t have that, so British Justice Secretary David Gauke had devised a new way of dealing with the paucity of phone services inside prisons: by March 2020, every British prisoner will have his or her own landline telephone, placed in their cells, sat nicely on modern and aesthetically pleasing desks.  In this way, Mr. Gauke assures us, prisoners will be prevented from returning to a life of crime.  Moreover, those who have bouts of depression, or who develop thoughts of self-mutilation or suicide, will be able to call psychiatric helplines, family members, or their mates back on the block to help them deal with the stress of incarceration.

No, seriously … that’s what Gauke said, which leads a normal person to conclude that prisons are no longer a place for punishment.  Of course, that’s been true for a few decades now —true in the UK and true as well in the United States.  There is far more crime committed inside prisons than outside, but that’s another issue.

And the cost to the British taxpayer is only £30-million, far less than Obama Phones in California, but still … the United Kingdom can no longer afford the cost of their National Health Service —but at least every prisoner will have a telephone.  Progress.

Still, I wonder if Mr. Gauke has overlooked the fact that while families can make a difference in the process of rehabilitating prisoners, wouldn’t this depend on whether family members aren’t themselves criminals, sitting at home waiting for their turn to be convicted of something horrible.  Gauke’s conclusions seem illogical to me, and ill-informed.  If there has been an upswing in criminal activities inside prisons from cell-phone use, how will the installation of landlines do anything but add to these problems?

For the moment, I’ll ignore the possibility (or likelihood) of a convicted rapist making contact with his victim via government provided telephones, although even the thought of that is mind-boggling.  Instead, let me share a few other facts that may have a bearing on the problem —something that Mr. Gauke has not considered: the reoffending rate in the United Kingdom.  Here are the numbers:

Overall recidivism rate, 29.4%

Adult recidivism rate, 28.6%

Juvenile reoffenders, 40.4%

Adults released from custody by court order, then reoffending, 38.2%

Adults early-released after less than twelve months incarceration, then reoffending, 64.5%.

It really is hard to imagine that government officials are this stupid, but then, I’m not making this up.  You can read about it for yourself in the Daily Mail December 28, 2018

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Government is not reason, it is not eloquence,—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master … ~George Washington

 

Mustang’s blog Fix Bayonets has an interesting post entitled “Marine Security Guards” up now and well worth a visit.

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