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MANY people are disheartened with the prison service.
Criticisms are raised at meetings, particularly public ones, about its operation, but the problems have developed over a number of years. They need to be tackled urgently and will require considerable resources.
The question of rehabilitation must be addressed. This can only be done if there is an orderly prison system which is properly managed, resourced and maintained.
We must also address the purpose of imprisonment. What do we expect to gain from incarcerating individuals? Some people might suggest we lock them up and throw away the key, but I do not subscribe to that view.
Society has a duty and a responsibility, through its prison system, to attempt to rehabilitate as many inmates as possible. I accept there are circumstances where little progress can be made. However, the vast majority of prisoners can be rehabilitated.
This requires an orderly regime, resources and planning.
Recent efforts to improve the prison system are insufficient and haphazard.
Those who work with prisoners, both in jail and when they are released, have criticised the fact that no account is taken of those who on release are left to their own devices, must try to fend for themselves, obtain accommodation and return to the straight-and-narrow.
Part of the prison system’s remit should be to help prisoners when they are released. The last thing we need is individuals continuing to offend and re-entering the prison system.
The objective should be to rehabilitate prisoners, where possible, and to link with health, education and employment agencies to coordinate assistance for those who have been released.
Cllr Noel Collins
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