GAZETTE OPINION: Prison hasn’t been helped by period of upheaval

HMP Northumberland
HMP Northumberland

The report on HMP Northumberland released this week has sparked varying responses but it is clear that there are some fairly important issues that need to be sorted, particularly around safety and violence.

What’s also clear is that the period of transition and upheaval over the past five years or so as HMP Acklington and HMYOI Castington were merged before the new joint prison became just the second public-sector prison to be privatised have not helped the situation.

But regardless of your views on privatisation, or even the merger, that horse has well and truly bolted now and the key thing is that all involved make a concerted effort to ensure that the necessary improvements are made for the sake of staff and nearby communities as much as the prisoners.

The rights and treatment of people who have committed crimes and are sent to jail will always spark opposing views, but in a civilised society, we should expect a basic level of safety in our prison system.

Read responses to the report here.