Does every prisoner deserve to be in Prison?

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a very eventful time for Writing Wrongs. We recently trained Newport Youth Offending Team and we are currently working on implementing the use of Writing Wrongs across the Fylde area of Lancashire. All our evaluations show that our Programme is an invaluable tool for engaging young people in Restorative Approaches. We firmly believe that engagement in the process is key to preventing young people entering or re-entering the criminal justice system.

Talking about the criminal justice system, last week I spent the night in Lancaster Prison’s ‘A Wing’.  The cramped cells were set back on narrow oblong landings. Huge white netting like giant cobwebs stretch across each level to prevent anybody falling onto the cold concrete  ground floor.

This is an unforgiving environment.  However, fortunately, Lancaster Prisons ‘A Wing’ is now an entertainment venue and I was there to watch a Johnny Cash tribute act.  A lively band and a rowdy crowd ensured a great night.

Nevertheless my night in ‘A Wing’ got me thinking.
Is the cost to society worth it?  It could be argued that a person who commits an offence is aware of the consequences. As the old saying goes.  “ Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’.

Yet the ‘consequences’ are far reaching than a spell inside prison. Does a person who commits an offence truly appreciate the wider implications of their actions? Do they realise that it will affect their life choices? their family?  friendships? and employability? Do they understand the damage done to their victims?, both direct and indirect?

Surely it’s time that all schools and Young peoples services adopted a restorative approach.

Research suggests that Writing Wrongs can prevent internal school exclusions. The Youth Courts in Lancashire are now using Writing Wrongs as a requirement on the Youth Rehabilitation Order.

As Johnny Cash sang of his experiences of San Quentin Prison:

‘ What good do you think you do? Do you think I’ll be different when you’re through?’

I wonder just how many prison cells would remain redundant if restorative approaches were firmly embedded within today’s society. Wouldn’t it be great if other prisons opened their doors as entertainment venues or arts and education establishments.

Over to you Johnny:

‘May all the world forget you ever stood. And may all the world regret you did no good’.

 SPECIAL OFFER: We can’t make it to the Youth Justice Board Conference this week due to our training commitments. If you attend the conference we will give your organisation 12 FREE Programmes  when booking a days training.