Featured Image: Rory Stewart: The Man To ReConnect The Country With The Towns And Cities?
He’s a damn fine bloke, Rory Stewart, the kind of guy you’d see running hard in West Bridgford, or cycling along Sustrans cycle paths. He’d have an app, maybe, Strava, and he’d be the kind of person you’d look at as a local role model, you’d invite him to dinner, to promote your good cause but his child knows that he’s really too normal and intelligent for all that kind of stuff…
When Rory Stewart was prisons minister I thought about the research I’d done while working for a prison contractor in the monstered carillion, amey (and others), supply chain. I think that some of the points I made apply as much to the conservative party and the country as our prisons:
1 Reinvest the local with economic significance and potential. Not in a parochial way but in a relevant, intelligent way. Realise every single prison has a unique history with unique purposes even within a corporate environment there’s local to be found.
2 Move away from the self fulfilling prophecy version of events. Seek out and credit the good. Realise that inside every prison are people who deserve much, much better, not, as MP Des Swayne says ‘more penal servitude and hard labour to get rid of Spice’ Intelligence and security systems around and in a prison need to be tools, not weapons we need more good going in to get more good coming out.
4 Discuss the prison estate in parliament as a social contract.
5 Remember that relationships between outside institutions, communities and each prison are still, even in a contracted out hyper capitalist environment, a social contract. If a prison is failing its local community then that local community are to be compensated by the company and authority who control it.
This involves a much stronger intellectual and practical relationship with citizens, educational institutions and local authorities. At the moment there is a very dangerous and risky supply chain of contractors, both servicing the prison estate under impossible compliance, resource and time strictures who are supplying services such as health, education and work to the prison estate. The overall cultural result is toxic and negative both for the prison estate and for people employed who are exploited by what are often umbrella companies.
6 Understand the problems strategically, intellectually and practically to introduce and disseminate a culture of safety, security, health, change and rehabilitation. We have to recognise every one in a prison has come in because they’ve committed crime(s) but instead of compounding racial, gender, class complexities with increasingly aggressive and divisive methods outside the prison complex that do little but keep on filling up the private prison estate as in America.