Stories categorized “Prisons”:

The senior judge who wants less punishment for criminals

Published August 2005.

The Guardian, August 2005
The retiring lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, today makes a passionate plea for a new approach to law and order which would see a major shift away from punishment towards the solution of problems which generate crime.
Writing in today’s Guardian, Lord Woolf suggests a shortlist of four strictly limited categories of offenders [...]

Dying for a break

Published May 2005.

Maybe nothing really changes. Several hundred years ago when red-faced judges and pot-bellied politicians were happy to procure power by ordering men to be hanged by the neck and left dangling to rot by the wayside, there was a popular rhyme: “Little villains oft submit to fate, so great ones may enjoy the world in state.”

Prison as a refuge

Published May 2005.

The prisoner is on the phone to his sister. He is due in court soon and he is hoping for a short sentence. She doesn’t see it that way: “You don’t want to come out. You’ll get right back on it. Lola’s on it, Tedda’s on it.”

Madness behind bars

Published December 2004.

Continuing our major series on the criminal justice system, Nick Davies reveals the scandal of the tens of thousands of mentally-disordered men and women who have been herded into our prisons and left there without effective treatment.

A prison is not a mental hospital

Published December 2004.

Here’s a story about just how hard it is for a bad system to mend its ways, even when a lot of people are trying to do the right thing. It’s about a young man from Birmingham, which is important in itself, because the local prison at Winson Green is now the showcase for the prison service’s drive to improve life for its mentally-disordered inmates.

The most dangerous prisoner in Britain

Published December 2004.

In the second part of his investigation into mentally-disordered prisoners, Nick Davies tells the story of a prisoner who has become a living nightmare, one of the several thousand severely ill held behind bars and denied a hospital bed.

The jailing of mentally disordered children

Published December 2004.

Concluding his investigation into mentally-disordered prisoners, Nick Davies looks at the soaring number of children who have been locked up in prisons which cannot deal with their often alarming mental health problems.

Confessions of a prison governor

Published February 1995.

JOE WHITTY was the Governor of Feltham Youth Custody Centre, one of the most senior men in British prisons, a respected advisor of Home Secretaries and civil servants, when, one bleak morning in March 1992, he walked into the cell of a young man named John Kirkland, who had hanged himself during the night.

The mad world of Parkhurst Prison

Published March 1994.

Bob Johnson had never been in a prison before and yet as soon as he walked through the iron gates of C Wing, he felt the familiarity of it all: the sagging men with baggy eyes and their tired shuffle of a walk; the other men, with uniforms, calling them by their first names but never quite connecting; the overwhelming staleness of the place. He had seen it all before – on the locked wards of mental hospitals. And he didn’t like it.

Meeting the man who kills coppers

Published February 1993.

Harry Roberts was once the most famous man in Britain. It was the summer of 1966: England had just beaten Germany in the World Cup; Harold Wilson was talking to the TUC about a wage freeze; Francis Chichester was getting ready to sail round the world; and at 3.15 on a Friday afternoon, on a street in Shepherd’s Bush, three London policemen were shot down dead in the sun.

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