Violence has got so bad in British prisons that inmates should start wearing Guantanamo-style jumpsuits and shackles, a union boss has said.
Mark Fairhurst, who is the acting chairman of the Prison Officers Association, suggested other clear breaches of human rights including locking up prisoners for up to 23 hours a day if they misbehave and putting them behind glass during visits.
Fairhurst, who’s been a prison officer for 26 years, told The Sunday Times that ‘the American experience is the only left.’
“Putting all prisoners in bright orange overalls, shackling them . . . keeping them behind sheets of glass when they receive a visitor and locking them up for 23 hours a day if they misbehave. Maybe it’s time we tried that,” he said.
His controversial comments come in the wake of a riot at HMP The Mount, in Hertfordshire, where two wings of the prison were taken over by angry inmates.
Fairhurst went on to tell the paper that riots like these are inevitable because of staff shortages and budget cuts.
But is the ‘American experience’ really the way to go? No, not at all.
The privately-owned correctional facilities are mainly run as profit making business ventures- so there is no real regard for prisoner welfare and increased incarceration is guaranteed by the State of which they serve.
The United States makes up about four percent of the world’s population, yet accounts for a staggering 22 percent of the world’s prison population. Making it the highest prison population in the entire world.
It’s also one of the worst prison systems in the world, with a conviction essentially condemning someone to a lifetime in the underclass- with released felons restricted in voting, travelling abroad and even getting social benefits or housing.
And that’s not all. Amnesty International said Guantanamo Bay in particular is in a ‘major breach of human rights’, having been accused of detaining prisoners without trial and faced allegations of torture.
So yeah, maybe we should revisit other ideas. Perhaps that of Norway’s who focus their efforts on rehabilitation and reintegration?
It clearly works, with Norway’s re-offending rate at 20 per cent (one of the best in the world), while in contrast the UK’s is at about 45 per cent, while in the U.S. more than 76 per cent of prisoners are re-arrested within five years.
But in 2017 it seems the days of rationality and logic are all but over.