The book I am reading and the conversation regarding the prisoner who died on new years eve has got me thinking about prisoners as a whole.
As of 19 December 2014, the prison population is 85,406. In 2009 (according to the Guardian) 8,500 were former servicemen. The media and social networking sites will praise these men on a daily basis, yet they make 10% of our prison population. So for all you tabloid readers who see prisoners as nothing but scum, it’s worth rethinking isn’t it. Prisoners come from all walks of life, top managing directors who may have made a wrong decision could be in there for fraud, a lorry driver who took his eyes off the road for 1 minute could be in there for death by dangerous driving, or a vulnerable female who was used as a scapegoat for a drugs gang could find her self with a hefty sentence for possession of a class A drug. The majority are just like you and I, made a wrong decision in life and are paying the price. Ask yourself this, have you ever broke the law? Got away with it? Drove when you have been over the limit, looked at your mobile phone whilst driving or skipped a health & safety feature whilst at work. All these things are done daily, if they go wrong. You would be labelled a criminal or worse, a killer! A man was sentenced to 6 years in jail today for driving home from the pub, using his mobile phone then killing a 27 year old woman in a head on collision. Tragic. He deserves punishment of course, but this could have easily been anyone of us and he has a family who will suffer too. Now don’t get me wrong most prisoners crimes are of course pre-meditated but do these all make them horrible people?! I know of individuals that have done a lot worse and spared jail, so before judging, think about this…. It could be you. It could be your son or daughter who you thought would never get involved in anything so illicit. It could even be your parent, your grandparent even, would you think of them any differently?
The next topic worth considering when thinking about the prisoners in our country . More than 70% of our prison population have a mental disorder. Is it any wonder there are so many re-offenders? If you don’t end up in there because of a mental illness its quite likely you will leave with one. That’s how these people get so caught up in the prison system. They don’t get rehabilitated, they get ill. As I have said I feel lucky that I do not have to worry about my loved one in there, he is pretty high spirited considering. It doesn’t mean I didn’t worry because my gosh I did. His dependency on cannabis scared me thinking he would turn to something harder, with it being a lot easier to get hold off than you’d think. Someone had died within his first week from a legal high and whilst watching a documentary a self confessed heroin addict admitted to getting hooked whilst serving term, and it being the first time he had even tried it. Worrying thought isn’t it? If you are worried about about your prisoner there are people to contact who are from what I have heard usually pretty good.