Friday, 20 August 2010

Sion Jenkins' Guardian interview - prisoner's rights

The Guardian has published an interview with Sion Jenkins - The Guardian 20th August 2010 " Sion Jenkins: I don't want sympathy from anyone ".  Law and Lawyers touched upon this matter a few days ago - see here -  The Jack of Kent blog also carries a post - well worth a look.

In several ways, this is a disturbing case.  The interview with Sion Jenkins gives his account of his time in prison and he talks about his compensation being refused by the Ministry of Justice.  He states that he was subjected to violence from other prisoners and refers to dirty conditions in which he was, at one stage, held.  He further comments that he was asked which prison he would wish to go to.  Upon saying - anywhere but Wakefield - he was taken to Wakefield which, as it happened, did not turn out to be as bad as he feared.

I do not know whether the actual comments made by Jenkins are all true but there are many similar stories from many others.  This ought to be raising the very serious question of just what sort of regime should exist in modern prisons and about the ability (or maybe willingness) of the prison authorities to protect certain prisoners and to ensure that their RIGHTS IN PRISON are safeguarded.

A good text on Prisoner's Rights is "Prisoners: law and practice" - Simon Creighton and Hamish Arnott - Legal Action Group. The BBC's " Five live " looked at prisoner's safety earlier this year.  The Daily Mail - 8th June - published an article about prisoners converting to Islam in order to win "perks" and to get protection.  The Daily Mail's article followed a report from the Inspectorate of Prisons.  There are Independent Monitoring Boards to monitor conditions in prisons - see their website for further.  The IMBs replaced Boards of Visitors some years ago - some of the background may be read here.  The management of prisoners is the remit of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

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