Society Today – April meeting

We were fortunate to have an outside contributor on the worrying subject of the state of our prisons.  Dr Michelle Jolley of the Criminology Department of the University of Northampton.  Michelle gave us a very thorough and competent survey of the important features of our prisons: highest number of prisoners for years, lack of sensible regimes to manage them, high percentage of re-offending (34%), ease of access to drugs, loss of contact with families, illiteracy and mental problems of many inmates and generally poor quality of social conditions.  Government attitudes: concentration on the punishment side but claims that we must not have so much failure.  Probation very costly.  Few prisons achieve much success but Peterborough is an exception.  The right attitude to take to this whole situation should be: develop life-skills of inmates and staff, show respect for prisoners as this evokes a better response and acceptance.  Dr Jolley’s talk was brilliant, possibly the very best we have ever had.  Our group thanked her very warmly, recognising her devotion to the highest ideals of prison reform.  Our next meeting is on May 11th, with the topic of ‘Slavery in our Society Today’, presented by Gillian Brown.  Tom Gilmore.