I spotted a headline on Yahoo news this morning that read “Prisoners Are Set To Work 40-Hour Week“
My Dad is a prison officer, so stories about prisons and the prison system interest me, but I was shocked to hear that,
a) prisoners don’t already work while they are incarcerated, and
b) they earn, on average, £9.60 per week by attending classes, workshops and other sessions
Forgive me, but I was always under the impression that prison is supposed to be a punishment for breaking the law. They most certainly shouldn’t get Sky and computer access (which I know many of them do!) or be allowed to lounge around at their leisure or using the gym facilities.
A few years ago there was a big hoo-haa about in-mates at some prisons having to “slop out” because they had to go to the loo in buckets during the night as there weren’t toilets in the cells. I have no problem with that! Why should the cells al be en-suite? My home doesn’t even have an en-suite bathroom – I have to share with my husband and son. Surely it’s not too much to expect prisoners to have to do the same?
Prison should automatically mean the with-holding of all luxuries – that means TV, gym facilities, computers and the like. It should not be a holiday camp.
Prisoners should definitely be expected to do something that will benefit others as well as support the prison system that feeds and houses them throughout their incarceration. They should also have to serve their full sentence with no time off for “good behaviour”, after all, it’s their bad behaviour that led to them being there in the first place, but with time added on for misbehaviour.
Put the rest of them to work making goods that can be sold or providing a service that can be offered from inside the prison. Yes, give them some small amount of “pay” from their efforts, but only a very tiny proportion of the income they generate should be given to the prisoners themselves – after all, they are there to be punished for their wrongdoings – and it should only be given to them on their release to put towards getting themselves settled back on the outside when their sentence has been served.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for rehabilitation programmes, but I truly do believe that in addition to that, prisoners should be expected to contribute in some meaningful way at the same time – no free rides!