Work, Training or Prison

(incarceration People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime, and different jurisdictions have differing laws governing the function of incarceration within a larger system of justice. Incarceration serves four essential purposes with regard to criminals:

  • to isolate criminals to prevent them from committing more crimes
  • to punish criminals for committing crimes
  • to deter others from committing crimes
  • to rehabilitate criminals  )


The prisons in Great Britain are at their highest levels of inmates on record (current estimates are 97,000), and most are liable to be repeat offenders when they are released.

Any sensible person must ask why is this happening?  It is bad for society, bad for the person serving the sentence and it is also bad for the economy.  It is estimated that the average cost of keeping someone in prison is £47,000.

The figures quoted are from the HM Prison Service, National Audit Office and Ministry of Justice.

Why might you ask am I raising this issue – I have just finished reading Frances Crook’s blog article ‘Work in prison: different European models.  To quote …

‘I am quite obsessed with work in prisons, so I found it fascinating. In England and Wales we have nearly 40,000 adult men serving four years to life and they basically lie on their bunks for years and years. And we pay for it.’

A survey in 2009 found that some 82% of prisoners are at or below the writing level of an 11-year –old, and half of all prisoners do not have the skills required by 96% of jobs.  Tonight it was announced that 1 in 5 school children going to high school are illiterate, the question in my mind is the government creating our prisoners of the future.

Off course not everyone who is illiterate becomes a prisoner (heaven help us if they did), but I believe that unless we urgently address the education rift in conjunction with getting people to realize the benefit of education and training throughout their life we will see the structure of society fall around us.

We cannot maintain the levels of prisons and prisoners – we have to find a way out of the morass.

Gay Marriage Support

I welcome Mary Kenny’s wonderful article ‘I’m wedded to the idea gay couples deserve equality’, and it is a wonderful to see phrases like ‘the issue of ‘equality’ has proved persuasive.’ And …why shouldn’t they enjoy the same rights?… – published in the Belfast Telegraph January 31, 2012.

My only observation is that ‘deserve equality’ would seem to indicate that we have suddenly done something to change the status quo – we haven’t!!

The LGBT community  is the same as it has always been, with the same rich diversity as any other community – what we have always asked for is parity – apply the same rules to everyone equally.


LGBT Heroes – 1

February 2012 is LGBT History Month, and ‘upstart’ wishes to start its first entry with a mention for Lance Corporal James Wharton.

Lance Corporal James Wharton was one of the first openly gay men in the British Army – since coming out he has been a role model for the Army and has participated in school visits throughout Great Britain and also got married in a civil ceremony in March 2010.

James openness and engaging personality has ensured that he has made friends were ever he has gone, leaving behind a more open and welcoming environment for gay youth in schools.

He has also taken part in the ‘It gets better project’ with a very positive supporting video.

upstart’ salutes you James.