Strangeways II

As I have mentioned in a previous blog I have been watching the Strangeways program on ITV1, Mondays 9pm. And I was really surprised to find that Strangeways, a high security prison which houses some of the countries most dangerous criminals, is in Manchester.

And it’s not something people think of often is it? I mean when was the last time you thought about a prison? Answer: you probably don’t know. But as I am studying law, I often have to look at criminal cases, and you do actually start to think about what it must be like to be housed in a prison cell for 25+ years of your life. It is enough to put anyone off committing offences. Or is it?

People who commit indictable crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape and armed burglary know that when they get caught they will be sentenced to so many years in prison. So does that no scare them a little? Knowing that for their actions they could be taken away from their family and friends and only see them on supervised visits at specific visiting times. Surely that is enough to want to make people obey the law, especially if there are children involved. Imagine been taken away from your child because of a moments madness?  Or murdering your partner in a fit of rage?

And that is exactly what happened to J Vass,  who raped his girlfriend and was on bail when he stabbed her to death, they had an 11 month old child together. The court sentenced Vass to 99 years in prison, and also informed him that he could apply to the parole board in 2040, which would make Vass 60 year old if he gets released on parole.

But even with the sentence of imprisonment, offender still commit crimes while in prison. There was a prisoner who caused actual bodily harm to an officer by hitting him over the head with a plank of wood while he checked the prisoners cell. The officer was taken to hospital and the prisoner was sent to the segregation unit. When officers went to check on the prisoner they had to remove him from the cell as he had been head-butting the floor and had injured himself. Due to the blood and urine on the cell floor, officers had to wear protective clothing when they entered the cell. The prisoner was then taken to the hospital wing and hid under the bed in the cell. He claimed he could hear voices in his head and they were telling him to head-butt the floor. He would not let medical staff assess his injuries or clean him up.

Now personally I would have dragged him out from under the bed as I am sure I would have got an arse kicking if the injuries had gotten infected, but the law states that an officer cannot forcefully remove a prisoner from any cell or other enclosed places as this would be considered as common assault. This is completely insane! Surely if by forcefully removing a prisoner to clean up his injuries so he would not get an infection should not be common assault as you are trying to prevent an infection and save his health?

I do not get the prison system at all. The officers have a certain duty of care over the prisoners but there is some things that they should not have to put up with. Like David Charlton for example, he is currently in Strangeways as he keeps committing offences because he is homeless. He would rather be in prison than be on the streets. But when he is in prison he treats the officers and people who try to help him like dirt. He claims that he is physically disabled and mentally distorted, but he has been mentally assessed and the medical staff have said that he does not have a mental illness.

He got sent back to Strangeways as he could not be trusted to be granted bail, as he just assaults  people or commits other offences to get back into Strangeways. He even trashed his cell when he was due to be in court and also refused to get onto the prison bus just so he could get out of going to his hearing. He certainly is an odd one, and as one of the officers said “he is hard work for everyone, not just the officers but the other in mates as well.” I would personally force him to go, if he refused I would shoot him. Simple.

It costs the country a lot of money for court hearings, so why should he be able to get away with, not only wasting the prisons resources, but also the courts resources and everyone’s time? Its just not right.

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