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Legalised Slave Labour

Do you think that the powers that be actually aim to rehabilitate our prisoners, or are they a money making asset?

The first thing we need to remember is that, just like everything else, a prison is a business, there are Government and privately run ones, which all need to make money, although this is very rarely spoken about, and just like any other business, it needs workers.

These “workers” do not have a choice, the work they are doing is not supposed to be the punishment for the crime, the separation from their family, friends and society is the punishment.

I want to remind people that contrary to media propaganda, not all prisoners are murderers and rapists.

The prison estate describe this work as “purposeful activity” with the aim to give prisoners the skills to gain employment upon release.

The list below is the work available in HMP Full Sutton, I’m sure there are things like desktop publishing available, however the majority are menial and mundane tasks.

One of the assembly jobs consists of stripping wires, day in, day out, very purposeful when it comes to reducing the chance of reoffending by teaching the skills needed to gain employment. It reminds me of something.

Oakum picking in the workhouse.

When you look at the above list, you will see that DHL are using prisoners, I wonder what their motives for that could be?

Meanwhile the options at HMP Chelmsford are equally mind numbing, Work opportunities are available in laundry, recycling, tea packing, card folding, wire stripping, yards, gardens and catering, or at HMP Elmley daily employment is available in gardening, environmental services, recycling, cleaning, laundry and kitchen work.

Now I know that the options available all sound tempting, but just wait until you see the impressive salary.

Does this seem fair? Would you work for it?

When you look at the fact, that the courts are making prisoners sentence’s longer, and we are constantly being told that our prisons are full to capacity, so the plan is to create many more prison places, 20,000 more places as it stands, they are obviously not expecting the reoffending rates to drop, anyone would think that this is their aim.

They talk about the importance of learning the skills needed to have a future without crime, then when a prisoner leaves the prison they get given a massive £82.39 discharge grant, well if they apply for it at least 4 weeks before their release to help cover their living expenses during their first week out of prison.

£86.39, just wow, please tell me how you can find a roof over your head, and food in your stomach, for a week, for £86, because I certainly couldn’t do it. This would explain the BBC headline.

“Northamptonshire charities asked to help prisoners freed to sleep rough.”

Crisis, the homelessness charity are unfortunately more than aware of the problem, but for some reason (I have many ideas why), the problem is overlooked and ignored. According to Crisis,

“People leaving prison are known to re-commit crime to avoid homelessness. Having stable accommodation can reduce the risk of re-offending by 20% (see Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners, ICPS, 2002, P94). As reoffending can cost the economy £13.5bn annually, we urge the government to make preventing homelessness in prison leavers a priority.”

If the prison estate really want people to succeed, why don’t they pay a fair wage?

Below is the current minimum wage rates in the UK, so a 23 year old earns double what a prisoner earns in a week, for 1 hours work, but this is not legalised slave labour, seriously?

So how about a radical solution?

If prisoners were paid, even an apprentice rate of £6.40ph it would be a massive improvement. They could still receive the same amount as their IEP Level stipulates, see below,

The rest of their wages could be put into an account, which they will receive upon release, then they will be able to find accommodation, food, clothes etc, therefore reducing the need to reoffend to survive.

By prisons operating this system, a released prisoner would have an incentive to work and they would stand a much higher chance of not reoffending, and becoming contributing members of society.

Which after all the aim of prisons is to rehabilitate prisoners, isn’t it?

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