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Prison Monitors: “They’re the old gits that visit, right?” by Mark Leech

Four years ago, I was invited to take part in a Ministry of Justice (MOJ) review designed to reform the long-discredited system of Independent Monitoring in our prisons.

I genuinely expected this vital review would finally bring the crucial ‘root and branch’ reform to prison monitoring that so many, myself included, had spent years calling for – looking back four years now, and at the new system of governance that as a result of the review that comes into effect today [1st Nov], I really should have known better. Read more

Action Research: The Situation I am In; The View From The Other Side

What follows is the writing up of my lived experience of struggling with the over bureaucratisation of my life.  It became a project when several years ago I realised that I was going between several agencies all tasked with supporting me trying to rehabilitate from a life where I had been homeless.  I fell into what is categorised as ‘multiple needs’. Read more

Let Them Out And Throw Away The Key by Michael Irwin

“Prisoner (22) dies at Northern Ireland Jail” – This is a minor line in The Belfast Telegraph today: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/prisoner-22-dies-at-northern-ireland-jail-37266751.html

My first reaction is choking back the tears, sadness, revulsion and anger. Who’s my anger directed it and why should I care. The word ‘care’ is highly relevant here. The sanitised bog standard reply by the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) is almost predictable as I’ve heard it so many times. Read more