Posts Tagged ‘Ken Clarke’

Marks and Jailbirds

At last a novel and sensible idea emanates from the lips of Ken Clarke; the Hush Puppy wearing, cigar smoking, jazz loving grandee. He spoke yesterday of the idea that British firms should be encouraged to hire prisoners in an attempt to provide rehabilitation and lessen the chances of re-offending. Prison doesn’t work; the majority of released prisoners soon end up back in stir, learning from the old lags the ways of crime. Prisons are chock-a-block full of depressed young men, illegal drugs and demotivated staff. A mere whisper away from full scale rioting most of the time. I suspect Fletch and Godber would not recognise the new, privately run jails. Clarke’s proposal has some validity but there remains a fairly large question mark over its implementation. The recent “workfare” scandal where those claiming Job Seekers Allowance were frogmarched to the likes of Tesco to stack shelves and fill warehouses for no financial reward still haunts the Tory party deep thinkers. As a lefty I like the idea of giving the dispossessed more opportunity and anything we can do to keep the horrendous re-offending rate down is obviously a good thing but the nagging doubt remains that the young offenders will be taken advantage of; paid far below market rates so giving the profits of involved firms a boost. The bottom line will be profit, not true opportunity and chance (although it would be spun that way) and the disadvantaged will be screwed over. They always are.