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The Green Paper produced by Nick Herbert when Shadow Justice Minister, Prisons with a purpose very much set out this agenda. It also called for an end to large remote prisons and the building of many, many more smaller, local prisons to keep prisoners close to their families and even their employment.

It will be interesting to see if the CSJ report adds much to this, but it is interesting to note that the party seems to be coalescing around a new philosophy of dealing with the root causes of problems, not just the symtpoms, irrespective of which "wing" of the party the proposers come from.

"but it is interesting to note that the party seems to be coalescing around a new philosophy of dealing with the root causes of problems, not just the symtpoms"

Couldn't agree with you more, John and I hope that one of the root causes which will be looked at in some detail is drug and alcohol dependency. I don't have statistics to hand but I am aware that a very large number, if not a majority of prisoners have some problem with one or other.

Please can we not forget that the Criminal Justice scheme is also about punishment. We need to remember that if someone commits a crime then they are punished.

Rehabilitation must be part of hte process of punishment, not at the expense of it.

Good to see Jonathan Aiken repaying his debt to society with such thoughtful policy thinking.

Jonathan Aitken is wrong to offer bonuses to screws just for doing their jobs

I have got a better idea which is also cheaper. Those prison officers who do their job keep their job, and those who fail to do their job must be replaced with someone more able. The same applies for probation officers.

Aitken states: "With more direct knowledge than most people, I am well aware that many of the 83,000 inmates locked up in our jails need to be there in order to fulfil two important objectives of imprisonment – the protection of the public and the punishment of lawbreakers".

True, he did spend some time in prison. However, his ride would have been a lot smoother than experienced by prisoners not connected to the Establishment. Something like 60,000 of the 83,000 could safely be released back into mainstream society.

What Aitken fails to clarify is that the punishment of lawbreakers is the sentence in court, and not what is inflicted by confinement.

Furthermore, the public get protection by the imposition of the sentence to custody. The mistake made by the powers that be is that they have a hazy concept called public protection, and this is bandied about like the word security. When public protection is piled on top of public protection on top of public protection, we end up with repression and oppression and victimisation of prisoners.

Aitken fails to mention that the reason why there are so many in custody is because it is a business supported by lobby groups interested in making profits out of imprisonment.

Expelling youths from schools may be a quick fix for the schools themselves, however, those who are ejected often become the offenders hereabove. Within the joined up thinking, surely it must be appropriate to review the true impact of failing these youths - yes, failing these youths - we are the adults and we must show them the way as part of an inclusive community. Being expelled must be part of the kit to fix the problem not the sledgehammer to crack a nut. Let's find places in state funded boarding schools and public schools for those likely to offend and similar groups. Let's raise the bar and help them to aspire with excellent role models and launchpads via networks and their own hard work. The carrot and stick is outdated - faith and truth is another option. Knife crime peaks, I believe, include 3pm-6pm - if these youths are placed in boarding schools they will not be on the streets where most of the offending takes place.

Phyllis Crash @ 15.36: "Good to see Jonathan Aiken repaying his debt to society with such thoughtful policy thinking".

I am not fooled by Jonathan Aitken's so-called redemption and reform. His report Locked Up Potential should not be taken at face value, because the locked up potential the disgraced former cabinet minister is after with his hidden agenda is increased involvement by the private sector in prison management. The more people locked up the bigger profits for the companies and their shareholders.

I would much rather have read about Jonathan Aitken's views on dishonesty and deception by those with power.

From blairs (dephic oracle style) 'not-lies' via his own dishonesty, right through to MPs lack of morality in expenses claims.

How do the public ensure that either:

- Only people with integrity get power
- People with power dare not even think about abusing their position

hHow many times over the years have we heard people say that rehabilitation should be central to the work of prisons? Of course the big problem in the past has been a reluctance to spend the kind of money that is needed to pay for the extra staff and facilities that are required. I am not keen to expand the work of the volunteer sector as in:
"Enlisting thousands of additional volunteers to mentor prisoners and released prisoners and help them with their literacy and preparation for finding employment, housing and jobs on release;"

This is not work that should go unrewarded. In fact we would be wise to invest in a number of highly trained and motivated professionals, who can make their life's work the rehabilitation of offenders.

Of course if we privatised the prison service, we could pay the prisons extra monies if a offender remains out of trouble for a reasonable time after release. I am against the use of volunteers because they are not trained, and because they are unrewarded they don't help the economy.
The rehabilitation of offenders is not a job suited to armatures and for the reason we should put our prisons into the private sector. Yes private prisons will still cost the tax payer but I believe the reforms and enhanced service we would gain would be worth the much reduced cost.

I am certain you get the drift of what I am saying even if I make stupid errors like an armature! (a secretary would be helpful) We need to find ways to reward the private sector jobs properly. We cannot continue to run volunteer services like a charity. This move is essential and will recover many of the Job slots we need to maintain a flow of money into the bottom end of the system. The alternative is to let the government do it and frankly we can see were that leads. We have abused one group of workers simply because they have the moral stamina to do something about it. So not paying charity/home workers is theft and we should have no doubt about that, for the long term.
Simple because often a relative is caring for a relative doesn't change the reality of day to day costings. The sick are a collective burden of our National Insurance.
In addition to very low pay, home workers do not need or deserve the derision of the luck enhanced majority, who labour under many illusions and many of whom will have periods of careering ahead of them. Isn't it a shame that cars are unsold and hard working souls are unable to afford to buy them. This is where creative accounting and collective responsiblity could lead us out of the mess. In many cases the voluteer sector isn't that at all, its a slavery imposed by a lack of alternatives. Somebody has to step in as the state has not. So it may fall to anyone to be looking after relatives without reward year after year.
Isn't that a kind of slavery imposed by the state. I would not mind if I was sitting watching the box day and night, but the fact is I am often exhausted by my caring commitments. For all this that I do, that aids the state I get just £50.50, what sort of rate of pay is that?

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