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UK Bans Sending Books To Prisoners

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the because-thoughts-are-dangerous dept.

Books 220

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Alan Travis and Mark Tran report in The Guardian that new rules introduced by the justice secretary in the UK ban anyone sending in books to prisoners It's part of a new earned-incentives and privileges scheme, which allows better-behaved prisoners to get better access to funds to buy their own books. But members of Britain's literary establishment have combined to condemn Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's ban on sending books to prisoners. 'While we understand that prisons must be able to apply incentives to reward good behavior by prisoners, we do not believe that education and reading should be part of that policy,' says a letter signed by more than 80 leading authors. 'Books represent a lifeline behind bars, a way of nourishing the mind and filling the many hours that prisoners spend locked in their cells. In an environment with no internet access and only limited library facilities, books become all the more important.' Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman says the prime minister backs the ban on receiving books and entirely supports Grayling, whose department imposed the ban to preserve a rigid system of rewards and punishments for prisoners and said there was no need for prisoners to be sent books as prisoners could borrow from prison libraries and keep some reading material in their cells. However a former prisoner told the Guardian that although libraries existed, access could be severely restricted, particularly in closed prisons. 'I've been in places where prisoners only get 20 minutes a week to visit the library and change books.'"

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220 comments

Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#46582873)

If you're in prison, that's it, you're in prison. But lets re-evaluate who goes to prison shall we? Imprisoning people doesn't seem to be helping with various societal and criminal issues.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46582905)

No, there is nothing reasonable about it. And, in the UK, as access to legal aid becomes severely reduced and private enterprises are being given contracts to cover all stages of the judicial process (from cop shop through prison management to probation), it's simply turning into a profit-making industry where everyone who lacks the money is milked.

The only useful purpose of prison is to protect society from dangerous individuals while they are being rehabilitated. Denying access to books does not help with this.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (-1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 months ago | (#46582943)

Of course it's reasonable. It's dead easy to hide stuff and secret messages in books or indeed other packages sent to prisoners, and at a time where they're going on about massive amounts of drugs in prisons. They're not being told they aren't allowed to read or something ridiculous, just people can't send in books. They can however send in money for the prisoner to buy the book through the prison or request it from libraries or maybe even get a digital copy. All that's really happened is they're not allowed to be sent big bulky packages and as they're in prison as a form of punishment as well as "keeping society safe from them" They should be grateful they can even do that.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583035)

Prison is also about rehabilitation, or at least it's meant to be.
Whilst a bulky package does carry with it a certain amount of security risk, that's what the guard(s) screening the mail are meant to remove.

This is purely another means of control over an individual which goes beyond what society should be expecting from the penal system.

It serves very little real purpose other than proving a politician can and will do something silly if given half a chance.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 months ago | (#46583231)

This was covered by the sage of sages, Leslie Nielsen years ago!

Hey! You call this slop? Real slop has got chunks of things in it! This is more like gruel! And this Château le Blanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled! This is room temperature! What do you think we are? Animals?

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583849)

It's not a question of package bulk. GP points out that secret messages from criminal conspirators can be typed into a page or written in a margin. Also, LSD can be baked onto pages of the book. Or a fake book could have its pages made from pulped hemp. Heck, there are probably real books made from hemp.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583053)

and at a time when they're going on about

"they" always go on about "massive amounts of drugs".

And it's not "dead easy" to hide drugs in books if the books are searched and tested for residue, which they will be anyway.

And, no, you can't send prisoners arbitrary amounts of money to buy anything they want. Clearly. Then a rich prisoner could have whatever they wanted.

And prisoners do not need to be grateful for anything - especially not in a society which only provides access to justice to the rich, and which imprisons people for things like TV licence evasion.

And punishing people for the sake of punishing them is pure, ineffective sadism.

And digital copy? For the WiFi and laptops you think they get to use from their beds? Are you high?

Finally, it's way more important for prisoners to be able to occupy their minds to their fullest extent than it is to stop them taking drugs. Although you might want to take a little less of what you are taking.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46583663)

I don't see why they couldn't have ebooks. Give them a kindle with a bunch of books on it. You should probably make sure there's no WIFi networks available in the prison anyway, since I'm sure it's not unheard of for cell phones to be snuck in. Sure you could probably break the Kindle into pieces and make a shiv out of it, but you can do that with toothbrushes or even paper.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583953)

Yes, I'm sure in a place where criminals are using cigarettes as currency, the ownership of Kindle's would be highly respected. No chance of thefts and the ensuing violence there.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46584011)

It's not "big bulky packages", it's any packages. And it's part of a raft of prison rule changes under the heading of privileges. So the minister's claim that it's about hidden drugs is simply untrue.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (5, Insightful)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | about 4 months ago | (#46583703)

You have just described the current state of affairs in the USA.

The war on drugs produces the raw materials (IE, people to put through the system).

The harvesters (the police) get paid for spotting, cutting down and initial rough processing of the raw materials.

The courts (attorneys and judges) do the separating and grading of the rough cut materials.

City and County lockup (jails) do the fine detailing to turn graded rough cut materials into finished products (real, full fledged prisoners)

They then and sell them to businesses (State and Federal prisons) that need the finished products (slave labor prisoners). Call it a business to business transaction.

State and Federal prisons then use their purchased products (slave labor prisoners) in their various industries (manufacturing of electronics, weapons components for the defense industry, you name it).

After the finished product is used up (released from prison), they are recycled and put back through the process.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#46583741)

I was with you up until the last two points.

For the prison-industrial complex the prisoners themselves are the final product. The government pays the industry to house them. This is why they lobby for 3-strikes laws that permanently lock up people for non-violent offenses. A life sentence is a guaranteed long-term investment for the industry.

(Also, who would have prisoners construct weapons?)

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583831)

Yes, this won't help the prisoners, but it sure helps the politicians seem "Tough On Crime"!

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 4 months ago | (#46582977)

If you're in prison, that's it, you're in prison.

Who put you there? Why are you and all these other people in there? Are you going to end up coming back here again? Why didn't we just shoot you the moment the judge struck the gavel? Is a prison supposed to have more functions than appeasing Daily Mail readers with petty acts of vindictiveness?

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583123)

Criminal sentences have 3 objectives. Rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence.

Both left and right agree on the importance of deterrence. But the right tend to believe that retribution is the second most important function. Whilst the left believe rehabilitation is.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583271)

There's a 4th, protecting society by removing dangerous individuals from society.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583729)

That comes under the category of deterrence.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583881)

That comes under the category of deterrence.

Huh? How is "protecting society" a punishment?

It's a consequence of being in prison, which itself is the punishment. Violent criminals aren't deterred by the threat of "protecting society", they're deterred by the threat of being locked up.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583319)

Criminal sentences have 3 objectives. Rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence.

Both left and right agree on the importance of deterrence. But the right tend to believe that retribution is the second most important function. Whilst the left believe rehabilitation is.

Unless you take some pleasure in punishing a person there is no retribution to be had from imprisoning. The criminal sentence used for retribution is to have the criminal pay for damages.
The reason the right wants longer prison sentences is more related to deterrence and containment. (Keep them off the streets.)
If we allow retribution to be a part of the sentence we have a problem since the victims will have vastly different ideas of what an appropriate sentence is. The punishment will then no longer be able to fit the crime, some victims will ask for execution while others will be able to forgive and forget.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (4, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 4 months ago | (#46583807)

If we allow retribution to be a part of the sentence we have a problem since the victims will have vastly different ideas of what an appropriate sentence is. The punishment will then no longer be able to fit the crime, some victims will ask for execution while others will be able to forgive and forget.

You seem to be assuming that people are only imprisoned for actions that have a victim. Unfortunately, all too often the only victim is the one who's being incarcerated, e.g., for drug possession, etc.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583893)

Unless you take some pleasure in punishing a person there is no retribution to be had from imprisoning.

Retribution is a school of thought that "the punishment should fit the crime". Supporters of this justification for sentences often quote "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

The criminal sentence used for retribution is to have the criminal pay for damages.

No, that's just another form of punishment. Equivalent to a fine in terms of retribution and deterrence, but having the additional rehabilitational element of making the offender appreciate the financial cost of the crime to society or the victim.

The reason the right wants longer prison sentences is more related to deterrence and containment. (Keep them off the streets.)

Containment is part of deterrence. And no, it's not just that. Retribution is very big amongst those on the right. In part because of that biblical justification. In part because talking tough is part of a right winger's identity. The same reason they tend to be willing to go to war without sufficient justification.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#46583555)

You forgot the main function, insulation, as in insulate society from criminals by keeping them apart.

Actually the two most important functions are insulation and deterrence. Both rehabilitation and retribution are irrelevant in comparison.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583649)

You forgot the main function, insulation, as in insulate society from criminals by keeping them apart.

I didn't forget anything. What you call "insulation" is called incapacitation in criminology, and is a part of deterrence.

Actually the two most important functions are insulation and deterrence. Both rehabilitation and retribution are irrelevant in comparison.

As I said, all agree on the importance of deterrence. The importance of the other two are more subjective.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#46584015)

Nope. Deterrence is to prevent someone from doing something because of the consequences. Insulation is another thing entirely. It is to physically insulate those that are dangerous to society from it.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46584093)

I'm afraid you are wrong. There's no such thing in criminology as "insulation", you're making it up as you go along.

Meanwhile:
"Incapacitation is considered by some to be a subset of specific deterrence. Incapacitation aims to prevent future crimes not by rehabilitating the individual but rather from taking away his ability to commit such acts. Under this theory, criminals are put in jail not so that they will learn the consequence of their actions but rather so that while they are there, they will be unable to engage in crime."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583721)

Unless the only sentences are life without parole and death, insulation without rehabilitation is completely pointless.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 4 months ago | (#46583937)

And this is why the US justice system is completely screwed.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#46584035)

The combination of insulation with deterrence does the job. For lighter crimes deterrence solves the problem. For grave crimes, like murder, the optimal solution for society is indeed life without parole or death sentence.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#46583907)

This function is all but forgotten by officials in the judicial system, these days (In NL and in Europe in general, it seems). "Stiffer sentences don't work" is something touted as an absolute truth backed by scientific research, but it's little more than a mantra going around in an echo chamber. Stiffer sentences do hurt rehabilitation, and after a certain point they no longer work as a deterrent, but they work wonders for insulation.

Retribution is a somewhat irrelevant aspect (though not wholly pointless!), but I disagree that insulation is more important than rehabilitation, it varies per case. If there is a good chance to rehabilitate a criminal, then it makes sense to try that; it's cheaper and there's less chance of recidivism compared to a criminal serving an "insulation" sentence. But if there's no reasonable outlook on successful rehab, better to then just keep the criminal out of society for a while. In that sense, I do not believe in "stiffer sentences" per se, but I do believe in longer jail terms for repeat offenders from an "insulation" perspective, as they have proven to be less susceptible to rehabilitation.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#46584073)

Rehabilitation is only really effective for small crimes, where deterrence is also effective. I have nothing against it, but it should be considered at most a secondary concern.

For real criminals, like serial murders, rapists, etc, rehabilitation is usually a wasted effort and the misconception that it can solve the problem prevents the real solution (which is insulation) from being applied.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583351)

Judges in the UK don't use gavels.

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46584121)

I think if you bother to read the remaining 20 or so words in his post, you'll realize that you and GP arrive at basically the same conclusions.

Oh, sorry. Does it count as a book in your jail if it's longer than a twitter post?

Re:Sounds reasonable, but look who's in prison (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#46583543)

It only sounds reasonable to people who consider themselves better than people who didn't have access to their opportunities and their choices.

There must surely be a middle ground. Books could go to the library, earmarked for the person to whom they were sent to check them out first. That would benefit all of the prisoners. That would also give an opportunity to check them out for concealed doodads, or veto them for some ideological reason which they're just not going to budge on.

Back to the good ol' times... (1)

curious.corn (167387) | about 4 months ago | (#46582879)

"Please, sir, I want some more"

Oh well. (5, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 4 months ago | (#46582881)

I guess it's more important to keep the slaves in check, and the ministers looking good to the far right, than it is to rehabilitate the prisoners.

Re:Oh well. (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46582897)

Yeah, heaven forbid we should end up with well-read ex-cons. They'll be having ideas above their stations.

Re:Oh well. (0, Troll)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 months ago | (#46582969)

Yeah, heaven forbid we should end up with well-read ex-cons. They'll be having ideas above their stations.

I must've missed the the part in TFM that says they're not allowed to read, or even read specific books. Just the part the limits a way for people to sneak drugs and all kinds of shit in. Because, of course, all prisoners are fine upstanding people that are there just for misunderstanding and sit around all day broadening their minds.

Re:Oh well. (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583079)

Just the part the limits a way for people to sneak drugs and all kinds of shit in.

Ignore the minister's political excuses, and look at the complete set of changes in rules. They are here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/... [www.gov.uk]

As you see, they are all about the restriction of privileges. The ministers comment about searching parcels for drugs is just a red herring. A lie. You should have been able to tell - his lips moved.

The problem that has been highlighted is that reading should not be considered to be a privilege, but part of rehabilitation.

Re:Oh well. (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 months ago | (#46583193)

Just the part the limits a way for people to sneak drugs and all kinds of shit in.

Ignore the minister's political excuses, and look at the complete set of changes in rules. They are here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/... [www.gov.uk]

As you see, they are all about the restriction of privileges. The ministers comment about searching parcels for drugs is just a red herring. A lie. You should have been able to tell - his lips moved.

The problem that has been highlighted is that reading should not be considered to be a privilege, but part of rehabilitation.

A full review of the policy – the first for 10 years – was ordered by Minsters last year and was completed in April. From today the absence of bad behaviour will no longer be enough to earn privileges – prisoners must also actively work towards their own rehabilitation.

Other key changes include:

The introduction of a new IEP level – “Entry” – where privileges are restricted.

Certificate 18 DVDs and subscription channels banned from all prisons.

A national standardised list of items available for each level.

An automatic IEP review for bad behaviour, with a presumption of downgrading.

TVs turned off when prisoners should be engaged in work or other productive activity.

Prisoners who misbehave will lose their TV.

Again, that all seems fairly reasonable. The new entry level and no 18 films might be a bit off but they are there as a punishment as well as rehabilitation. Prison isn't a place to enjoy leisurely activities, you're supposed to not want to go back. Still, I don't see where it says that they're not allowed to read or having access to books pulled. One avenue sure but there are plenty still open.

Re:Oh well. (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 4 months ago | (#46583263)

Spending their many hours locked in a cell reading, rather than just staring at the walls, does not sound like a leisure activity; it sounds like "Learn to read better so you can have something to do instead of nothing to do". By all means restrict format - solid hardcovers could be used to hit someone, paperbacks are probably OK. Encouraging reading might raise prisoners' ability to pursue education.

Re:Oh well. (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 4 months ago | (#46583349)

Spending their many hours locked in a cell reading, rather than just staring at the walls, does not sound like a leisure activity; it sounds like "Learn to read better so you can have something to do instead of nothing to do". By all means restrict format - solid hardcovers could be used to hit someone, paperbacks are probably OK. Encouraging reading might raise prisoners' ability to pursue education.

Again, no one is stopping them reading as far as I can tell, just people aren't allowed to post them books. They can still get books through the library or people can send the money for them to get a specific book through the prison. If I'm wrong and they're being stopped from reading then that's bullshit but as I understand it, that's not what's happening.

Re:Oh well. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#46583235)

mind you, it depends on the book... some celebs' autobiographies could be considered part of the punishment!

dur (1)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46583471)

ex cons are a very rare breed.it usualy means that they managed to get away with enough cash to last a decent amount of time or they fell in with a women who keeps them straight. most prisoners do repeat sentences time after time. they dont learn or in my experience cannot be arsed,they find it hard work trying to actualy think. why do you think that in prisons that offer education schemes the uptake is so low and that of those who start very few complete them and when they do,in comparison with outsiders figures,prisoners do badly on average marks and passes. remembering that there is always a very small number of people in prison who will use every oppurtunity to educate themselves.

Re:Oh well. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#46583289)

Fill in the blanks:

An __ _______ (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum __ _______, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

Re:Oh well. (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#46583677)

I think the fact is they can help finance their costs by mandating their earned books silo. I think there is likely to be some sort of cost structure planning this was intended to help bolster.

David Cameron... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46582917)

...is a fucking wet pillock.

internet access also (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46582949)

Prisoners should have internet access as well.

why (1)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46583249)

why,so that they can organise jobs from inside or intimidate witness's? what the hell do they need net for,they already have pay phones in prisons,what more do they need to communicate?

England != UK (5, Informative)

Titus Groan (2834723) | about 4 months ago | (#46582959)

I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot. England & Wales does not equal the UK. This ban does not apply to Scotland where the prison service is a devolved body. Sending books to prisoners is only banned in PART of the UK.

Re:England != UK (3, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 4 months ago | (#46583089)

I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot. England & Wales does not equal the UK. This ban does not apply to Scotland where the prison service is a devolved body. Sending books to prisoners is only banned in PART of the UK.

I was just about to post an almost identical comment when I saw yours.

If Alabama does something completely ridiculous in its penal system no-one says that 'the US is doing this...' For US readers, it may be helpful for you to think of England as the UK's Alabama. In the south, and governed by ignorant, prejudiced and reactionary people.

Re:England != UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583153)

I feel like I'm repeating myself a lot. England & Wales does not equal the UK. This ban does not apply to Scotland where the prison service is a devolved body. Sending books to prisoners is only banned in PART of the UK.

I was just about to post an almost identical comment when I saw yours.

If Alabama does something completely ridiculous in its penal system no-one says that 'the US is doing this...' For US readers, it may be helpful for you to think of England as the UK's Alabama. In the south, and governed by ignorant, prejudiced and reactionary people.

England contains about 85% of the population of the UK, so it is not really comparable.

Re:England != UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583259)

Yeah, Wales is like the UK version of Canada.

All barren wildnerness.

Re:England != UK (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 4 months ago | (#46583285)

... barren...

You do not know what that word means

Re:England != UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583587)

England contains about 85% of the population of the UK

So does the retarded part of the US.

(If you are reading this then clearly your state is not in the retarded part.)

Re:England != UK (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#46584087)

They usually do on slashdot then go on to tie it to somehow tie it to corporations and big business.

Re:England != UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583817)

A large part of the problem here is that for a long time in the history of the UK by many the term "England" was used to denote the United Kingdom. (My source is some QI episode, but I bet you can find a better one)

  As a result, in many foreign languages the equivalent term is used to refer to all of the UK (or rarely "Great Britiain") (Here my source is my own experience in speaking about 5 European languages besides English relatively well)

I remember hearing from a tour guide who got in a very hairy situation when she was leading a tour in English and in French. At some point she referred to the English-speaking half of her tour as "English" while addressing them. The fact that most of them were from Scotland was quickly pointed out and I guess she missed out on some tips.

begrudge education (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 months ago | (#46582973)

If they spent the same on education as they did on locking people up per year then maybe you wouldn't have to lock so many people up.

Re:begrudge education (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#46583465)

If they spent the same on education as they did on locking people up per year then maybe you wouldn't have to lock so many people up.

So, your proposal is that they reduce the Education budget by 95% or so?

A quick Google shows that the UK Education budget is ~88 billion Pounds, their Prison budget is ~4 billion Pounds.

Now, perhaps that was really a dig at the USA, and so the UK budgets are meaningless...

Of course, US total Education spending is on the order of one trillion Dollars (including Department of Education, which is a whopping $53 billion of that), while the total spent on prisons (including such off(prison)-budget items as pensions for guards) is ~40 billion Dollars.

Which would again suggest you're in favour of lowering Education budgets in the States by ~95% (more like 96%, but the symmetry is nice).

In other words, can we ditch that tired old trope? It only works because most everyone is ignorant, and most everyone likes to exaggerate for effect, and it gets old real fast once you start googling the numbers....

Re:begrudge education (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 months ago | (#46583735)

OMG, you're right! The UK prison population and children in education is exactly the same.

Re:begrudge education (1)

careysub (976506) | about 4 months ago | (#46584007)

The OP did not state it very well, but it would appear that he has in mind the fact that the cost of keeping a person in prison is more than the cost of sending them to college, year for year.

Of course with the school age population of Great Britain (which does not count college age people) being about 18% of the total, and its prison population amounting to 0.14% of the population, a ratio of 130-to-1 it would be incredible for the absolute cost of imprisoning the second to exceed the cost of educating the first. But the difference in spending ratios, as you present them is telling: 20-1 vs 130-1. The cost of prison is 6.5 times higher per person.

You're using the wrong stick. (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46582981)

Withholding access to the television, perhaps (gasp!) forcing some prisoners to read, might be a better behavior modification tool.

You're using the wrong carrots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583081)

How about using cigarettes and booze as carrots? You'd still have to limit where and when they are consumed. But think of how many guys would not kill for a cig.

Re:You're using the wrong carrots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583161)

Yeah, or how about using food and water, or maybe even air as a carrot? I mean, they are prisoners after all, not human beings.

Prison is not a holiday camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46582991)

There are already prison libraries with books in them - the prisoners can read those all they like.

Re:Prison is not a holiday camp (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 months ago | (#46583075)

They'll get burnt in the ensuing riots.

Re:Prison is not a holiday camp (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#46583189)

I suppose it wouldn't be a problem if people sent books to the prison library instead of direct to a prisoner then.

Perhaps we need a campaign to send old books in to your local prison rather than the charity shop (or *from* the charity shop)

But they have money to give condoms free to girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583085)

LONDON: In a bid to cut the growing number of unwanted teen pregnancies in the UK, schools have been advised to provide free morning-after pills and condoms to teenage girls.

According to new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), under-25s should be able to access emergency contraception more readily, including pills and the IUD (intrauterine device, or coil).

Although under-18 conception rates have fallen, England still has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, said a statement by NICE.

Improving contraceptive services will help ensure young people get the support they need and reduce unwanted pregnancies.

NICE has advised commissioners of services in England to give all young people access to contraception and advice at convenient locations so no-one is denied services because of where they live.

"It is really important that sexual health services offering information and advice can be found in places where young people have access to them," Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE said.

"Evidence clearly shows that the availability of contraception reduces the rate of unwanted pregnancies. Local planners and providers of services must make sure that what they offer is right for their area," said Kelly.

According to the guidelines, young women should be informed that an intrauterine device is a more effective form of emergency contraception than the oral method and can also be used on an ongoing basis.

Young women should have timely access to emergency contraception using an intrauterine device, NICE said.

"Young people often find contraceptive services and advice difficult to locate. This can be for a number of reasons. They may not know where services are, who provides them or when they are open," Kelly added.

"They can also be wrongly worried that information they give may not be treated confidentially. For that reason, this guidance focuses on ensuring they receive culturally sensitive, confidential, non-judgemental and empathic advice and support tailored to their individual needs," said Kelly.

Many of the recommendations made in the new guidance from NICE will cost nothing to implement. They look at existing services to ensure everything is being done to give all young people the support and advice they need.

The new guidance focuses on helping those up to the age of 25. It is aimed at those who have responsibility for contraceptive services.

This includes the National Health Service (NHS), local authorities and those working in education, and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors, NICE said.

Re:But they have money to give condoms free to gir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583947)

What are you, some kind of sex-crazed Communist? Just tell boys to take cold showers and girls to keep their legs together and the cognitive dissonance problem from having to think of our adolescent children as sexually active beings will go away.

Keep them ignorant and docile, I say. And bring back the lash...

Hannibal Lecter (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46583103)

To paraphrase Hannibal Lecter, a sane society would either kill them or let them have their books.

WMD on credit phosphorian mind cleansing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583117)

selective reading not just for prisons anymore

UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (5, Informative)

evilandi (2800) | about 4 months ago | (#46583125)

The UK has a problem with Islamic extremist gangs in prisons. Printed material from external well-wishers and visitors is a huge contributory factor. This problem is far, far worse than any right-ring white gangs in US jails.

For example at the high security prison near Evesham, there is a large gang who slash the faces of anyone who refuses to convert to their brand of Islam. This isn't widely acknowledged by the prisons service, but it leaks out through staff such as prison nurses, who have to deal with the end results.

Re:UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46583243)

I see the problem of islamic gang(s) that was highlighted at HMP Long Lartin.

The parallels are not only to right-wing white gangs in US jails, but to black and hispanic gangs there. If there's enough inmates feeling that they have a common kinship, then they are quite likely to form a gang, and of course bully those who are not in the gang into conformity with the gangs norms.

The problem there seems to be that the Muslim population has reached 25% in that particular prison, presumably many drawn from the islamic fundamentalists groups.

But I don't see any reference to printed material having any bearing on this. Do you have a citation for that?

Re:UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583795)

The Muslims should be expelled.

This being Slashdot, where one may excoriate adherents of other Superstitions, why not consider sending Muslims who are declared enemies of Western culture and whose only political function (religion is NOTHING more than political ideology based on superstition, which is why religion and the religious merit no respect) is the fight to make societies Islamic. Muslims are toxic because they spread Islam. Anyone doubting this is invited to sell Bibles or Atheist literature near the Kaaba at the next Haj. Religion is not race, religion is not ethnicity, but religion is politics as surely as Communism and Nazism.

The only good Muslim is a dead one, and there is no moral obligation to enemies. Europe should purge itself of Islam by force, sending the enemy back to its proper home in Arabia and northern Africa.

It's time to discuss getting rid of the laws designed to protect good people which have no other real effect than blowback. No one not a Muslim has a better life because Muslims are allowed to infest their country.

Re:UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46584123)

How exactly do you expel from UK someone with UK citizenship?

Re:UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#46583515)

I don't see how banning books is going to help when the gang is persuading people with knives rather than reading material. Of course for politicians (rather than boots-on-the-ground prison staff and their inmates) it doesn't matter whether it actually is effective, just that it appears to be.

"Fighting Islamic Extremists" can be used to excus (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583581)

One way to limit face slashings in prison might be to ban or limit access to knives. But, you know, "Islam." Down with books.

Re:UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#46583707)

That is irrelevant, and should be handled by something that doesn't amount to strict thought control and censorship. If the UK wants to call a spade a spade they should just say they are banning texts to prevent ideas from spreading. Maybe good ideas maybe bad ideas but a threat to control none the less.

Seems Really Strange. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#46583127)

Logically people who like to read are far more capable of controlling their behaviour and people who don't like to read are far less capable of controlling their behaviour (it comes with being willing to sit in one place and focusing concentration on a inactive pursuit). So this whole thing makes pretty much no sense at all. Seems much more like an attack on intellectual types to force cooperation not only upon them but on their associates outside of prison. So nothing to do with illegal activity within the prison but more to do with coming up with legal ways of making the prisoners suffer in order to extort cooperation from the prisoner and the prisoners friends and family. This all stinks of falling down the stairs, sexual abuse by other prisoners, extended arbitrary solitary confinement and other hide able tortures to force compliance and turncoat behaviour.

Re:Seems Really Strange. (1)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 4 months ago | (#46583409)

Logically people who participate in subsistence farming are far more capable of controlling their behaviour and people who don't farm are far less capable of controlling their behaviour (it comes with being able to defer or ignore gratification and focusing concentration on a tedious/repetitive task in order to survive). Clearly we should send the prisoners farm implements. Not to do so seems much more like an attack on hardworking types to force cooperation not only upon them but on their associates outside of prison...

Non sequitur? Mistaking the cause for the effect? Just plain ol' weirdness?

Re:Seems Really Strange. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#46583853)

So books are weapons now?

Re:Seems Really Strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583935)

You could probably take someone's eye out with the corner of one if you threw it hard enough.

Re:Seems Really Strange. (2)

careysub (976506) | about 4 months ago | (#46584053)

Giving prisoners meaningful jobs, that are not punitive - or simply profit centers for for-profit prison sweat-shop factories - is actually a very good idea. Farming is not a career today, but it is a rewarding activity that would be very good for developing discipline and productive behavior. It is odd that you find the idea laughable.

One thing, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583155)

Can we please not forget that miscarriages of justice can and do happen, and that people do go to prisons for crimes they didn't commit.

If I wanted to learn something from a book, such as Tadashi Ozawa's "How to Draw Anime and Game Characters Vol. 1 - 5" for example, and I was told no because it's "not government approved," I'd be taking this to a Human Rights tribunial.

Human beings are allowed a right to an education, you know.

That said, another fascist policy from an evergrowing fascist country.

Re:One thing, people... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 4 months ago | (#46583303)

...but do you have a right to draw lifeless personality-devoid anime? There's a good artistic reason that book is banned!!!

Re:One thing, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583333)

Drawing is a skill. And art is art, regardless or what it is, or how you or anybody else interprets it.

I realized something earlier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583205)

It doesn't surprise me that the British populace think this is a good thing. The people of the UK are genocidal maniacs, after all. They're honestly no different than most people inside of a prison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide#Stages_of_genocide.2C_influences_leading_to_genocide.2C_and_efforts_to_prevent_it (2 and 6 are a stretch, though.)

Now apply this to people who're pedophiles or have been accused of being a pedophile and it more or less rings true. (Esp. with the death of the guy who took photos of kids vandalizing his property because he was accused of being one.)

And for the Benefit of the British, Pedophiles != Ephebophiles != Child molesters. Stop synonimizing them as the same thing, they're all different.

good (0)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46583311)

good,about time,more stupid idiot liberal ideas should be kicked out of everday life,the morons who put them forward are those that are usualy those that are least affected,like the morons who think the uk should let in every scumbag that can make it to dover,most dont live in areas like watford where it is difficult somedays to actualy hear english being spoken on the streets. prisons are meant to be a punishment for getting caught at doing something wrong,all crooks have two choices,dont do anything illegal or if you insist on doing them,dont get caught,if you do expect

liberal scum (0)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46583381)

i see all the bleedin heart liberals are out in force today. and how many of you have to put up with living surrounded by thieving scumbags and smackheads 24 hours a day 365 days a year? try it,your sympathathies for these poor misunderstood under class would go out of the window very quickly. rehabilitation,dont make me laugh,most of them had exactly the same chances to do well at school as the rest of us,most had the same chance to educate themselves after school,but they did'nt take them. most of them would have trouble taking part in any prison education system because tgey cannot be arsed,and no crap exscuses for them

Re:liberal scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583425)

The Daily Mail is that way ---->

Don't worry, idiots like yourself get lost and wind up here all of the time.

Re:liberal scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583877)

Return to the Daily Mail or Fox News or wherever you came from. Please learn the English language before returning.

They are still allowed 12 books in their cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583395)

They are still allowed 12 books in their cell, so the arguments about denying access to rehabilitatory materials seem like (the knee-jerk UK leftish Slashdot reaction to anything this government does - though obviously trying to filter the internet is stupid) a straw-man to me.

Given the comment below about Islamic gangs it is probably about restricting the materials read. If this counts as some kind of censorship, then it seems to me to be an acceptable form, provided it is limited to prisons.

Re:They are still allowed 12 books in their cell (1)

radio4fan (304271) | about 4 months ago | (#46584043)

Given the comment below about Islamic gangs it is probably about restricting the materials read. If this counts as some kind of censorship, then it seems to me to be an acceptable form, provided it is limited to prisons.

The new ban includes underwear and stationery. It's not about restricting what inmates read, it's about enforcing the new 'earned privileges' regime.

Books and magazines sent into UK prisons are already censored. For example, porn is now banned.

Well, why not? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#46583491)

You can't have books but here's some free breast implants so you can diddle around.

Theft (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583497)

I've never been to prison, so I can't say how things work inside with any sort of authority. However, I did go to a very crappy British boarding school which I suspect was surprisingly like prison. The thing at school was that you couldn't have anything of value, unless it fit into your pockets (and even then it was still at risk). You were guaranteed to have anything stolen from you - be it a pencil, a ruler, a calculator, a text book, a tie, shirt, food, porn - anything. The thing is, in such an environment, literally anything has some value, and so it becomes a target for theft.

If books become a privilege, you can bet they become theft-worthy and so those with the privilege effectively lose it pretty quickly. In that sense, books differ from (communal) television or ping-ping tables or whatnot because whilst communal things can be restricted or withdrawn, only the authorities can do so. Books get withdrawn because you put it down for a second and didn't maintain visual contact with it.

I'm somewhat surprised that Ministers (who often have been to boarding schools) would think this was such a good idea ;-)

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46583553)

What about writing your own books?

Polititicans outdoing themselves (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 4 months ago | (#46583657)

It's nice to see politicians from other countries trying to set a new standard of idiocy, and making ours in North America look okay by comparison.

This serves no sane purpose whatsoever. Books are good. We *want* people reading more. Yes, even prisoners. What do you want them doing with their time if they're not reading? Nothing better will be done instead.

This is the hair-brained scheme of some morons who got into power and don't have the slightest idea of what they're doing. It will accomplish absolutely nothing useful in dealing with crime.

The will only lead (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 months ago | (#46583761)

To the prisoners making pencils out of toilet paper and writing their own underground novels, which are then sold for packs of cigarettes.

Interlibrary Loan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46584037)

When I was an inmate in a US state prison, Dept of Corrections, I was able to get any book i wanted through interlibrary loan.

Years later I volunteered at a books for prisoners program run by anarchist, squatter, commune type kids in another state, (Louisana). They would get letters requesting specific books, none of which they had in their commune. I recall an inmate requesting a book on horticulture, or botony; but getting a middle school life-science textbook because that was the closest match. I suggested they refocus their efforts on getting their state to impliment interlibrary loan with the prisons. They didnt care. Perhaps if i didnt shower, or wear untattered clothes that fit me, they would have listened and really made a difference.

The poor prisoners... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46584071)

Who cares about the victims? Let's all wring our hands over the prisoners...

Tell you what. All those who think prisoners are actually 'victims' can SEPARATE from the rest of us (the majority) and form your own 'prisoner friendly' country, we'll give up a piece of our country for you to live in, with your prisoner-friends, and we can all laugh when they destroy your country from within, while we live crime free lives...

There, that wasn't difficult was it?

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