Prison is to try different approach
HMP Styal has become the first prison to offer open accommodation to low-risk offenders in a house just beyond the prison gates.
The home will provide a stepping-stone for female prisoners nearing release helping to re-establish them in the community.
Prior to this these offenders were sent to open prisons in Kent and Yorkshire far away from family and friends.
Will the new system work? Frankly I don’t know but given the miserable track record of rehabilitation something has to be done.
It makes no sense at all to persist with current prison regimes, which create major criminals from minor offenders.
We desperately need to test new initiatives if we are to reduce reoffending. Improving mental health facilities instead of dumping sufferers in prison would help considerably.
It’s truly Dickensian to use prisons to house the mentally ill and campaigners should be making their voice heard with a lot more vehemence.
If moving low-risk offenders out of closed prisons into something resembling normality helps reintegrate them into the community it’s worth a try.
As for incarcerating those with psychiatric problems: we should hang our heads in shame.
Can you imagine the same treatment for sufferers of any other major illness? Neither can I. If the governor of HMP Styal would like to invite me round I’d be happy to accept.