Prison officers are concerned about their jobs it seems, depite the fact that prisoner numbers show no signs of reducing.
Prison governors too have expressed concern that prisons may close and that this may result in prison staff being made redundant.
TheOpinionSite.org does not share the concern of prison warders. The sad truth is that the British have had a love affair with custody for the last 500 years and we do not see anything that suggests for one moment that this relationship is in danger.
Indeed, regardless of the fact that Mr. Clark has instructed the police, probation services and other agencies not to unnecessarily arrest or return to prison those who breach their conditions of bail or license, the prison population continues to increase.
The problem is that these policies are not decided by unbiased, sensible people. On the contrary; these critical decisions as to whether someone should or should not be locked up are made by politicians and politicians always put themselves first regardless of any other consequences.
Politicians believe, wrongly that if they lock up more and more people and destroy more and more families and make life increasingly more difficult for certain people they will win more votes.
On the other hand, if they go around closing hospitals and axing public services it is likely that they will lose votes. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any Member of Parliament from any party, regardless of their view, would ever support any radical reforms that resulted in less people being sent to prison.
One of the principal aims of the reforms put forward by Mr. Clarke is to save money. The criminal justice system, that is the police, courts, prisons, probation services and numerous other add-ons cost the tax payer in excess of £11,000,000,000 per year.
This figure however is much higher when you incude those who are released from prison as it is highly unlikely that they will get a job and if they’re convicted of a serious sexual or violent offense, it is almost certain that they would never work again and the rest of us will end up supporting them until the day they die. Not only would we end up supporting them but we will also be supporting their family.
Nevertheless, TheOpinionSite.org believes that the concerns of those who work in the prison service are unfounded. Regardless of what the review brings forth it is likely that in the short-term and possibly even in the longer term, very little will change.
The prison service is often referred to as the ‘forgotten service’ and prison officers like nothing more than to put themselves on the same ‘importance’ level as police officers.
Sadly, it is true that many prison officers only become prison officers at all because they cannot get into the police service. Many have tried to do so, most have failed. This ‘second class’ status breeds resentment and the government are well aware of this.
The coalition government is on dodgy ground as it is and will not want to do anything to make an already difficult situation worse.
With unpopular court judgments regarding sex offenders and their right to appeal their registration coupled with another court judgment that insists that all prisoners have the vote, the last thing that the government would want to do is to seriously suggest that it is going to lock up less people for less time.
TheOpinionSite.org therefore has a word of hope for the beleaguered prison officers who feel so threatened. We say to you, “Do not worry; do not concern yourselves.”
We say this with confidence because we know that in Britain we lock up more people per head of population than any other country in Europe and more than most countries in the world.
We therefore believe your jobs are safe and that far from decreasing, the prison population will in fact continue to explode. Prison governors need not worry either as their prisons will not close and even if they did, bigger ones would be built to replace them.
The only growth industry left in Britain – Incarceration – is alive and kicking and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Britain is famous for inventing and indeed practicing some of the most barbaric methods of torture ever introduced. Britain was the first country to have an organized prisons service of any type and the idea of locking up people for straying even insignificantly from the path laid down for them when they are born is something so deeply entrenched into the British psyche that there is no way it will change.
Fear not prison officers. Your jobs are safe.