Monday, 17 May 2010

Long Lartin chokey

The following first appeared in the Newspaper "Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!"

In early 2005 a survey was carried out at HMP Long Lartin designed to "Measure the Quality of Life in Prison" and gauge whether the prison was delivering such hard to define qualities as "trust" and "decency". A random, representative sample of approximately 100 prisoners was invited to complete questionnaires and discuss issues. In May the Prison Service Standards Audit published its report.

Among the areas focused on were the segregation unit and the use of force by staff. 77.8% of prisoners said that "Control and Restraint" methods were used unfairly. The majority said that staff would always arrive in full riot gear to move a prisoner from normal location to segregation, regardless of the situation.

Prisoners described "intimidation tactics" used by segregation unit staff, citing the practice of large numbers of officers standing in a semi-circle outside cells when their doors were opened. A number of prisoners said staff would often verbally abuse those detained in the segregation unit and that many seemed to feel that staff would create tension rather than try to alleviate it. Unprovoked attacks on prisoners were said to be rising at an alarming rate.

For so many prisoners to speak out against the unnecessary use of force and the intimidation tactics used in Long Lartin's segregation unit is encouraging. However the audit was content with segregation procedures, noting that documentation was completed to a high standard, and satisfied that force was not used unnecessarily at the prison.

To those of us who have lived and breathed this existence for longer than we can care to remember, the Prison Service managing to hide behind a shroud of secrecy and a mountain of well-doctored paperwork came as no surprise.

John Shelley, HMP Whitemoor (previously at HMP Long Lartin)

No comments:

Post a Comment