Blog entry 29th April 2020
It's been a very different month for obvious reasons. Whilst the prison is in general lock-down I am still out working every day. In that sense I am lucky.
However, the lock-down is exposing the governments failure to invest in the modernisation of prisoners' facilities. Crucial family contact has been severely restricted to a few minutes phone call each day. This is not the same though as being able to see your loved ones.
Meaningful prisoner education has come to a halt. If prisoners had restricted in-cell I.T. and controlled internet connectivity both education and visual family contact could have continued. It must not be overlooked that these two factors are recognized as being crucial to addressing offending behaviour, and facilitating prisoners successful release back in to the community.
Also, all offending behaviour programmes have ceased. Again, if prisoners had restricted in-cell I.T. and internet connectivity this could have continued uninterrupted. Now swathes of prisoners will be released in the coming months without having completed their identified intervention programmes.
Even though I am still working a 7 day week, I am locked up for an extra hour or so each day. I am putting this time to good use by using it to refine the submissions for the Court of Appeal. These should be ready for submission within the next few weeks.
I still don't know what is going on with my parole hearing date. It is now almost 6 months overdue. Despite the lock-down hearings are still being held. It isn't very confidence inspiring that my parole solicitor hasn't responded to my letters on the issue and seems to be happy to let the issue drift on unchecked.
Well, that is my news for this month. I truly hope that anyone who follows this blog is safe and well at this uncertain time in our history. I also wish to acknowledge the superb way wing landing officers are carrying out their jobs on D wing at HMP Wakefield. Despite working extensive hours and dealing with a difficult working environment they are doing their utmost to keep prisoners morale up and address their questions and worries.