An Overview of the Prison System in the UK

The problems with regard to the UK prison-system are far-reaching. There has not been any formalized, structural improvement in the system for the last twenty years. When improvements have been made they have lacked vision. The civil service remains highly inflexible with regard to changing the system. Also, political figures are too uncomfortable to recommend the necessary changes be carried out. The politicians’ reluctance is perhaps a result of the resistive mentality of the civil service. The two factors certainly go hand-in-hand.

Escalating prison populations does not help matters, either. Increasing prison populations cause problems with regard to all operational aspects of the prison. Budgets for penal institutions have been decreased, resulting in improper or unsatisfactory resources in organizing the rising population. An estimated sixty-five percent of the prison population return to the United Kingdom institutions. With the re-offending rate so high; it is obvious something must be done, structurally. Re-offenders cost tax payers plenty. If the re-offense rate were not so high, taxpayer monies could be put to use, elsewhere.

Many prisons in the United Kingdom are well over 100 years old. You can imagine how difficult it is to implement change in such a long-established, unchanged operational structure. Restructure and reorganization, suffice it to say, is most difficult. It would prove very challenging to bring the old prison-system up to standard with that of the twenty-first century.

Some prisoners are miles away from where it is they were convicted. This is due to the fact the prisons are so full.  Managers are left with the unenviable task of just finding available space for the newest inmates. This overcrowding situation is a prevailing reason for prison disorganization and the current state of affairs as alluded to above. Prisoners housed miles away from their area of conviction, in turn, receive rare visits from friends and family members.   The low-economic circumstances of many inmate family members make visits to the correctional facility, so far away, an impossibility.

The system too must bear the burden of transporting the prisoner, housed outside his judicial venue, 100 miles back to the court-system where he first received conviction, when appeals or other legal matters need to be addressed. Also, proper medical facilities may be located miles away from the correctional facility wherein the prisoner resides.

Many of the United Kingdom’s penal facilities are full of drugs. Certain inmates do not acquire addiction to drugs until they are housed in a prison facility. The drugs are provisioned to the prisoners through certain corrupt prison staff members. When prisons are this disorganized: many inmates leave the correctional facility with a criminal network; armed to make a living carrying out further crimes. Ideas on how to address a growing prison population, in organizing the UK.’s prison-system are needed in order to effect a proper solution.