I joined the High Sheriff of Worcestershire on our second visit during the year to HMP Long Lartin, the Category A (highest security) prison near Evesham. Last time we did not meet any prisoners and there had recently been some very unpleasant incidents. As noted from the previous visit, a high security prison contains individuals who are high risk, obvious really; however, they are individuals who need to be helped back into society was useful citizens. The new Governor is very committed to this goal.
This time, we spent a good deal of time with prisoners doing various activities and talking to them. It was likely that these men were within 5 years of the end of their sentence because budgets do not stretch to providing such activities for men further away from release. We saw some magnificent artwork and I talked to men who were proud of what they produced.
Those who work in the prison system want to return to society people who will not repeat offend and will contribute positively. This is not achieved by treating prisoners poorly. The element of punishment and deterrence is achieved simply by the deprivation of liberty. Any further punishment has the opposite effect. The public need to be persuaded on this and politicians should be honest about the costs in the sort term though the savings to be made in the long term.