UK prisons some of the most crowded, dangerous and dirty in the world

  • By Heyami Alghatta


Dangerous, Dirty, Over Crowded and Unacceptable

The Dame Sally Coastes’ report currently under review by the British government backed up by six years of investigation by The International has shown the UK to have some of the most corrupt, dirty, overcrowded and dangerous prisons in the world.

Approximately 1 in every 500 people in the UK is currently in Prison.

Last year 14’247 serious physical assaults were documented against prisoners. This number is believed to only be a fraction of the actual injuries as it specifically does not count injuries inflicted by prison guards which vastly out weight injuries inflicted by other inmates.

Only 595 prison guards were assaulted, mostly with very minor injuries if any at all.

89 Suicides were allowed to happen whilst on watch.

32% of inmates are re-offenders.

Murder rates have been blocked from being published, especially those where guards have killed prisoners during altercations.

Education is non existent in the vast majority of prisons. The ‘Education Programs’ a humiliating and pointless basic English and maths class taught by unqualified teachers who themselves could not pass the class if they were students.

Unlike prisons in the USA where prisoners get to let off aggression and frustration with sports and weights in an outdoor activity yard taking in essential vitamins from the sun and fresh air. British prisoners are locked up between 23 and 24 hours per day in a tiny cell barely large enough for one person with a minimum of 2 and often up to 4 adults in them on bunk beds, sharing a toilet with no seat or privacy. Female guards are used for patrol during male shower and toilet times also, with no dignity or privacy allowed.

The only times the prisoners are allowed out of the cells is into a a small dim windowless concrete hall to eat or occasionally outside in a small concrete and barbwire are where they are only allowed to walk slowly in circles usually in silence.

Physical exercise such as push-ups is often seen as a sign of aggression or preparation to fight. As such, prisoners caught exercising are subject to humiliating strip-searches, ritual beatings and physical abuse by the guards often leading to false accusations of attacking a guard and additional time added on to the prisoner’s sentence.

Prisoners are often denied essential medication or medical treat ment with infection and death being an almost daily norm.

Psychological abuse such as visitation and telephone use denial is used to try and provoke inmates in to fighting so they can have their sentences extended.

Telephones charge up to £3/minute for an inmate to make a call to a loved one during their maximum allowed call of 15 minutes per day to one person per day. All calls, of course are recorded and monitored.

Prisoners are often used as forced labour for some of the UK’s largest companies and industries, from gift card manufacturing to packing palettes for some of the well known DIY stores. The prisoners receive as little as 14p/day for this work with which they are expected to buy food, paper pens and stamps to contact their legal team. Telephone money to call their legal teams. Soap, Tooth brushes, tooth paste and other hygiene products, all of course at incredibly inflated prices.

Reform is not an option, education is not an option. Prisoners are not allowed to earn money on the out side during their sentence with all financial income being confiscated.

The prisons were found to be so filthy that skin disease from contaminated shower water was found to be rife in a number of UK prisons.

The UK has some of the longest prison sentences in the world.

The UK judicial system is one of the most archaic and open to abuse, the majority all white, male, elderly, affluent, christian judges and magistrates  lack real world knowledge and in the case of many magistrates any qualifications or industry experience. Whilst lay juries have time and time again been proven to fail.

With 1 in 5 of all prisoners who serve full sentence and have their case reviewed by private teams later found to be innocent, the UK has the world’s highest miss conviction rate. The appeal process is so drawn out and corrupt very few find release before serving their term. Whilst on license following early release the abusive probation services make any chance or a normal life or job impossible. The punishment effectively continuing on for the rest of the prisoner’s life. Spouses and families of inmates often report being abused and blackmailed by prison guards and police with threats of violence against their loved one behind bars being used to extort sexual favours, money, services, goods and confessions to crimes that the police can not solve.

One guard from Dovegate Prison in the Midlands tells an undercover reported for The International: “If we see a fight about to brake out, why intervene? let them get a few hits in first that way they get added time and once they are injured they are easier to restrain, less chance of us getting hurt.”

Dovegate was found to mix remand prisoners (prisoners yet to have a trial, yes you can be sent to prison in the UK if some one just accuses you with out any trial) with life-sentence murderers and violent criminals as well as psychiatric inmates all in the same wing and even the same cell. This leads to a very high rate of extreme violence, disfigurement and death.

So why does the UK want as many people in prison for as long as possible with out any form of reform?

The UK operates prisons run by private companies, who run the prisons for an incredible profit. The longer inmates stay and the more inmates there the higher the profits. It really is that simple. The prison industry is an incredibly profitable industry which relies on a lack of reform and heavy prison population.


 

H.Alghatta@theinternational.org.uk