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Grayling’s latest crackdown

From 1st November there has been a change in the Incentives, Earnings and Privileges (IEP) system within the prison estate (Ministry of Justice, 2013a; 2013b). How individual prisons will be able to make sure all prisoners comply will be interesting to follow. The 3 categories of basic, standard and enhanced will from now on be stricter and for those not on enhanced ROTL will not be possible. Therefore, for open prisons where rehabilitation through outside work is the norm, if those on enhanced do not fulfil the criteria they will likely be downgraded to standard.

This potentially will leave many prisoners with nothing to do during the day and bored prisoners are not good for any prison. If there are large quantities of prisoners which should under the new rules be moved to standard then how can they be managed? Likewise if prisoners are downgraded to basic, suddenly they will not only have to wear prison clothing which believe me is something to be desired but will have their TV’s taken away.

Grayling has said that under the new policy, the lack of bad behaviour would not be enough to earn privileges; instead inmates would have to work actively towards rehabilitation and help other prisoners (No Offence, 2013)

But then some say why should they have a television? But where do you draw the line on punishment? Each prisoner is still a person and there should be a measure of consideration placed on each one. What has wearing a uniform, well jogging trousers and sweatshirts, got anything to do with punishment for an offence. It’s not like the city where suits are the normal attire. Next prisoners will be wearing striped outfits or ones with arrows on. Time for a change surely! Let’s stop wasting time money and energy in making prisoners look uniform and get down to addressing real issues such as reducing the prison population.

The Maidstone Prison incident this weekend (BBC, 2013; BSkyB 2013) shows that there is unrest within; let’s hope this will be the exception rather than the norm in the future. Can this be linked to the regime changes introduced by Mr Grayling?

BBC (2013) ‘Kent prison disturbance resolved’. BBC News. 02 November. [Online]. Available at <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24791003> [02 November 2013].
BSkyB (2013) ‘Maidstone Prison ‘Riot’ Brought Under Control’. Sky News. 02 November. [Online]. Available at <http://news.sky.com/story/1163060/maidstone-prison-riot-brought-under-control> [02 November 2013].
Ministry of Justice (2013a) Toughening up prisoner privileges. [Press release dated 30 April]. Available at <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/toughening-up-prisoner-privileges> [accessed 01 November 2013].
Ministry of Justice (2013b) Major shake up to prisoner incentives. [Press release dated 01 November]. Available at <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-shake-up-to-prisoner-incentives> [accessed 01 November 2013].

No Offence (2013) Male prisoners to wear uniforms and be banned from watching television. [Online]. Available at <http://www.no-offence.org/entry.php/533-Male-prisoners-to-wear-uniforms-and-be-banned-from-watching-television> [accessed 02 November 2013].