First of all many congratulations to Roger Beeching for being awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list. Well deserved I feel sure. And, as he is a Justice of the Peace I am sure he will appreciate the following. I know I am mounting my hobby horse again which I seem to do with some frequency but I couldn’t let this little titbit of information pass me by. I recollect saying once before that prison is no punishment but is more of a holiday camp and the following more or less proves it.
The headline is “Prison? It’s just like a holiday camp” and continues with “Animal rights terrorists gloat on website about ‘fantastically easy, blissful life behind bars.” Now I am anti-vivisection but I couldn’t in a month of Sundays terrorise people who work in that field as these have done and for which they have been imprisoned. A Prison Service spokesman said: “Ministers are clear that prisons should be places of hard work and are determined to ensure that the culture in prisons reflects this.” So far so good. No one is suggesting bringing back the treadmill or oakum picking but consider these extracts from letters sent by these prisoners. From Dan Amos: ‘It’s an easy life here at Guys Marsh, where I have a Single cell, and en suite shower, and access to the gym seven times a week.’ From Heather Nicholson, Foston hall Prison, Derby: I’m stuffing my face with Plamil (dairy free chocolate) and almonds as I watch Friends. It’s not a bad life, eh? Ha ha! My studies are going really well and I have now started my equine psychology course which I absolutely love.’ All well and good but here comes the cruncher: ‘I may be in prison but I wouldn’t swap places with anyone else in the world!’ From Gerrah Selby, HMP Downview in Sutton, Surrey: ‘Everything here is great. I’ve kept busy while in prison at the gym, doing art and pottery and gaining a Btec qualification in media production. I feel like I’m in school! It’s true that time really does fly by in prison. Of course I long for my family, my friends, and my freedom but being in prison is no hardship.’ Natasha Avery, Send Prison in Woking: ‘I’ve got some great friends here, in for all sorts of crimes from fraud to armed robbery to murder: They are wonderful, funny feisty women with loads going for them and we all look after each other and really do laugh all day long.’
I’m glad education is part of it. It would appear from the graffiti on a victim’s house one of them can’t even spell: ‘I burn youre house down.’
No matter how cushy their life in prison may be, the downside of course is that these kids will always have a record. Maybe it’s time for another behind bars television series bearing all this in mind.