the state of our prisons

According to the Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, Prisons are in the worst state that they have ever been for a decade.

Recent statistics revealed suggest a worrying pattern of increase in violence within penal establishments and easily identifiable factors that the Government seem to either want to ignore or do not care enough to remedy.

The Inspector has identified that the surging rise in the use of legal highs within penal establishments are fuelling the ever increasing statistics of violence within our Prisons. He also further went on to describe that they are environment of “squalor” and “idleness”.

Certainly our experience here at Burton Copeland of representing Prisoners within the prison system are that many spend large parts of the day, and sometimes multiple days locked behind their doors with little purpose for activity to try and encourage them to rehabilitate and prepare for life on the outside.

A startling statistic is this not linked solely to minor incidents but the number of murders that have taken place within the UK prison systems are at his highest levels since records began.

Figures show a 28% increase in the number of assaults on prison staff since 2010.

Interestingly the number of full time staff within the public sector prison system, that is prisons owned by or operated by the Government are down 29% between March 2010 and December 2014. It seems to us that there is no coincidence in the fact that as prison staff have decreased, inmates have had less provided for them by way of purposeful activity and as such the inevitable frustration and anger that that will create has led to an increase and rise in the number of assaults on staff.

The government so far seems to be unwilling to deal with the issue or turning a blind eye. The previous justice secretary, Michael Gove, seems to be spouting favourable rhetoric in terms of investing in the prison system further and trying to ensure that rehabilitation is at the core of the Government’s prison policy. Only time will tell whether his successor will adopt the same mind set in light of Brexit and ever increasing need for austerity.

How can Burton Copeland assist prisoners, the lack of staff means that there are further delays in the system in such matters as HDC and re-categorisation. We can assist both and try and minimise delays by way of a competitive fixed fee.

If the prisoner’s frustration boils over and results in adjudication for perhaps assaulting a member of staff or other inmates or other breaches of prison discipline then we can attend and represent them before the independent adjudicator under legal aid.

Whatever scenario your family member is experiencing in custody it is likely that Burton Copeland can offer a solution to this. Please contact Carl Miles.