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Give prisoners the chance to help the community

May 16, 2011

Things have changed since then. Today many prisons have Braille Units. Many have workshops refurbishing bicycles or wheelchairs and other items for the disabled in this country and overseas. Every week in prisons all over the country groups of people with learning disabilities are welcomed into prison gyms and education departments to work with prisoners to their mutual betterment. In fact, all prisons have schemes and programmes where prisoners and staff are working together to provide some service, social enterprise or item that benefits people in the outside community. But such opportunities are still severely limited. As Strangeways reveals, prison in the main still consists of enforced idleness and an obligation to conform to behaviour aimed primarily at maintaining the smooth operation of the institution. In short, prisons conspire to create model prisoners rather than model citizens, and even in that they fail.

….”You can meet good people in a bad place,” (male prisoner) and “We help each other. You’d be amazed – we’re the scum of the earth, but there are people in here I’d trust with my life,” (female prisoner).

Read the whole article.


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