At the invitation of Cassian Roberts, High Sheriff of Worcestershire, we accompanied him and Jane, his wife, on a visit to Long Lartin prison.
For some of us, it was remarkably difficult to get in through the security which created one of the day’s few lighter moments. None should be under any illusion that being incarcerated here is a soft option. Prisoners sent here are likely to have been given sentences of ten years or more. However, the staff are very conscious of the need to treat their prisoners humanely and try to prepare them for a new life when they are freed. Each prisoner has to be considered as an individual, both from the point of view of his needs and also to keep others safe. This requires very difficult judgements. Always to take the safe option would result in lock down that would, over the longer term be less safe.
We were given a very comprehensive tour of the prison, particularly the workshops. The Deputy Governor and her staff were very hospitable.
Long Lartin finds itself trapped in an unenviable position concerning prison inspections. It is marked down for some of its accommodation. It has put in proposals to rectify these serious deficiencies to be told that there is no budget. Not good for morale. Society needs to face up to the need to manage well those it feels that it must lock up. It will be cheaper in the long term.