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View Full Version : Inmates 'paid to play Scrabble'



Ck
18-10-2006, 19:53
Britain's most violent and dangerous inmates are being paid by the Prison Service to play Scrabble, learn guitar and look after fish tanks.

Criminals in the "jail within a jail" at Whitemoor high security prison in Cambridgeshire earn credits to do a range of "constructive activities".

Other occupations which attract the payments include playing ping-pong and other sports, going to the gym or library, cleaning, attending classes and seeing the psychologist or mental health nurse.

Inmates have to complete at least 30 minutes of an activity to win a payment. The scheme at Whitemoor's Close Supervision Centre was revealed in a report on jail segregation units by the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers.

She said: "This was a positive initiative that placed a degree of responsibility on prisoners to structure their day and to sustain a pattern of constructive activity.

"Unstructured activities such as watching TV, PlayStation, radio, showering, chatting and playing pool would not be paid."

"This thematic inspection clearly charts the progress that has been made - some of it innovative - in dealing with prisoners in the most extreme forms of custody within our prison system; though it also points out the distance still to travel."

Inspectors said the system in general had problems with inadequate in-cell activity for men who spent considerable periods in solitary confinement.

They also highlighted a rising trend of prisons having to hold members of rival street gangs in separate units. The study said that the dangers of attacks between gangs was a "new management challenge" for jail bosses.

Prison Service director of high security prisons Peter Atherton said: "A schedule of constructive engagement is being pursued with all CSC prisoners, which is a key part of the underlying pro-active philosophy of these units."

(Source = Press association)

The credits are worth £1.10 a session and they can use the credits to buy approved items.

I'm so glad to hear that my taxes are being put to such good use! :rolleyes:

Claire
18-10-2006, 20:38
Some of the "activities" described though CK are things that many of the inmates have had no experience of.

Don't you think that showing them alternative ways to spend their time is constructive?

Time Meddler
18-10-2006, 20:41
But why should we pay for it?

Claire
18-10-2006, 20:43
But why should we pay for it?

You're paying for them "doing the time" anyway Timey. Wouldn't you rather it was a constructive use of your taxes rather than a complete waste of money?

Ck
18-10-2006, 20:45
I don't see why they should be rewarded. I have to work hard to pay for things I have, I don't see why I should have to pay for theirs too.

Claire
18-10-2006, 20:52
I don't see why they should be rewarded. I have to work hard to pay for things I have, I don't see why I should have to pay for theirs too.


You're paying for it anyway.

I have to look at this from the perspective of an OH who works in Criminal Justice. There have been loads of examples I have personally seen where offenders lifes have been completely changed for the better because of positive intervention and "re-education". Basically a taught awareness of the "wider world".

My OH works with people who have three generations of their family who have been unemployed. Making them see that this isn't the only option and that there are other ways of living than the only way they've known is positive isn't it?

Ck
18-10-2006, 20:59
Yeah, I understand that. I begrudge funding them anyway but to pay them £1.10 for sitting on their guilty arses to read a book for half an hour on top of that really pisses me off.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:01
So paying them the same amount to scratch their arse would be better?

Ck
18-10-2006, 21:04
So paying them the same amount to scratch their arse would be better?

What are you on about?

They don't get paid anything for doing nothing. If they got the credits anyway and they were taken off them unless they adhered to these new stupid ideals then that would be fine, but they are getting something extra.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:09
Well they're learning that by working they get rewarded!

Ck
18-10-2006, 21:12
Well they're learning that by working they get rewarded!

They should be learning that committing a crime gets them their liberties removed.

Time Meddler
18-10-2006, 21:13
So paying them the same amount to scratch their arse would be better?

No. Not paying them at all would be better, or if they are to get paid then they should do some proper work.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:14
They should be learning that committing a crime gets them their liberties removed.

They're in jail! I've a feeling they know that.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:16
No. Not paying them at all would be better, or if they are to get paid then they should do some proper work.

Like what? Most of them don't have basic literacy skills, let alone a view of the world outside their "box".

Ck
18-10-2006, 21:17
They're in jail! I've a feeling they know that.

And?

They deserve to be there! Have you got a decent argument of why you think I, as a hard working tax payer should fund them to sit around and play board games or read books and go to the gym or did you misread the opening post?

Time Meddler
18-10-2006, 21:18
Like what? Most of them don't have basic literacy skills, let alone a view of the world outside their "box".

I don't believe that most of them don't have basic literacy skills at all, or is this a special prison for illiterate criminals? As CK says, they are there as a punishment for their misdemeanors. There is nothing I can think of as to why they should get paid to do things that are helping them to pass the time anyway.

Earl
18-10-2006, 21:25
They shouldn't recieve anything, any duties they perform should go towards paying their keep or go towards subsidising our taxes.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:31
And?

They deserve to be there! Have you got a decent argument of why you think I, as a hard working tax payer should fund them to sit around and play board games or read books and go to the gym or did you misread the opening post?

I would argue with you about the "deserve to be there" but I wouldn't get you to agree.

I'm a hard working tax payer too and have been since my first "Saturday job" when I was 13, and my arguement would be the reward/punishment one that has probably been done to death. People respond positively to "reward" and negatively to "punishment". So giving them all the same but punishing them by taking it away if they don't do what they're told is going to provoke negative reactions. If, however, you can teach then that by working harder and by learning new experiences you will be rewarded, then that's teaching them something positive. Not all of us have been blessed with the experience of sitting around and playing board games or reading books and going to the gym.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:34
I don't believe that most of them don't have basic literacy skills at all, or is this a special prison for illiterate criminals? As CK says, they are there as a punishment for their misdemeanors. There is nothing I can think of as to why they should get paid to do things that are helping them to pass the time anyway.

I can only speak from experience. Most of the offenders my OH has worked with have very little basic literacy skills. Same goes for a large percentage of people I have represented in my own job.

Depends if you believe in rehabilitation or just punishment. I believe in the former.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:36
They shouldn't recieve anything, any duties they perform should go towards paying their keep or go towards subsidising our taxes.

Why?

Earl
18-10-2006, 21:36
I would argue with you about the "deserve to be there" but I wouldn't get you to agree.

I'm a hard working tax payer too and have been since my first "Saturday job" when I was 13, and my arguement would be the reward/punishment one that has probably been done to death. People respond positively to "reward" and negatively to "punishment". So giving them all the same but punishing them by taking it away if they don't do what they're told is going to provoke negative reactions. If, however, you can teach then that by working harder and by learning new experiences you will be rewarded, then that's teaching them something positive. Not all of us have been blessed with the experience of sitting around and playing board games or reading books and going to the gym.I'd say the time for education has been and gone. I'd happily give up on these individuals, if they can't tow the line then tough shit.

I've no problems with other Liberal ideas on how to prevent crime, but if the person has already offended prevention has failed. they then have a duty to repay their debt, and accept their punishment. If a life of crime is what they choose, then they must accept the consequences. Life isn't fair.

Earl
18-10-2006, 21:38
Why?

They don't deserve anything, they owe us.

Ck
18-10-2006, 21:38
I would argue with you about the "deserve to be there" but I wouldn't get you to agree.

I'm a hard working tax payer too and have been since my first "Saturday job" when I was 13, and my arguement would be the reward/punishment one that has probably been done to death. People respond positively to "reward" and negatively to "punishment". So giving them all the same but punishing them by taking it away if they don't do what they're told is going to provoke negative reactions. If, however, you can teach then that by working harder and by learning new experiences you will be rewarded, then that's teaching them something positive. Not all of us have been blessed with the experience of sitting around and playing board games or reading books and going to the gym.

You've been ripped off Claire. You shouldn't have been paying tax at 13! ;)

We are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to punishment. I think thieves should have their hands cut off and rapists should have their tools of the trade removed. For some crimes I'd like to see the death penalty and for crimes such as fraud, including benefit fraud I think prison shouldn't be an option but they should be made to pay back every penny even if it takes them the rest of their lives.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:41
I'd say the time for education has been and gone. I'd happily give up on these individuals, if they can't tow the line then tough shit.

I've no problems with other Liberal ideas on how to prevent crime, but if the person has already offended prevention has failed. they then have a duty to repay their debt, and accept their punishment. If a life of crime is what they choose, then they must accept the consequences. Life isn't fair.

If its failed despite of the punishment then that means the punishment has failed. So as a society do we continue with that failure or try to turn to into a success?

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:45
You've been ripped off Claire. You shouldn't have been paying tax at 13! ;)

We are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to punishment. I think thieves should have their hands cut off and rapists should have their tools of the trade removed. For some crimes I'd like to see the death penalty and for crimes such as fraud, including benefit fraud I think prison shouldn't be an option but they should be made to pay back every penny even if it takes them the rest of their lives.

I'm 42. It was allowed when I was 13;)

Think we are totally at the opposite ends of the spectrum regarding punishment/rehabilitation, but then, as you probably know, I'm a total leftie!

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:46
They don't deserve anything, they owe us.

Fair enough. I don't think anyone owes me anything.

Claire
18-10-2006, 21:48
Anyway - Night!:)

Time Meddler
18-10-2006, 21:49
Some people may be able to be rehabilitated, but most cannot. You only have to look at the reoffenders' statistics to see that. At the end of the day, for may prisoners, doing time is the onlt option. It may not solve anything in the long run, but at least they are out of the way for a while and they are seen to be being punished for their misdemeanors, even if it does not change them in the long run. Rewarding people for committing crimes does not work in the majority of cases.

Time Meddler
18-10-2006, 21:50
I'm 42. It was allowed when I was 13;)

It wasn't when I was 13, and I am 46! :confused:

Earl
18-10-2006, 21:55
If its failed despite of the punishment then that means the punishment has failed. So as a society do we continue with that failure or try to turn to into a success?

I don't view prison as a preventitive tool, not alone anyway. Education is important in preventing crime, but if people do commit crime they should repay their debt to society.

Rehabilitation is unpopular and a shit idea, if the Government want to educate people about the rights and wrongs of criminal activity they should do it before the person becomes a criminal. Otherwise it's just too little, too late. Once someone has become a criminal the responsibility to change their ways lies on their own heads, all I would expect is that they be managed correctly. And paying them to play scrabble is not what i would call correctly.

Victor29
19-10-2006, 09:18
It wasn't when I was 13, and I am 46! :confused:

It wasn't when I was 13 and I'm 57. It was also illegal to work at 13 for a full day. Only paper rounds or short morning milk rounds, something like that was allowed. I couldn't work a full day until I was 15. Then I had a saturday job too.

You've been breaking the law, Claire. Lock her up! :p

I have to agree with the others about rewarding them to take part in leisure activities. We are paying for them to be there so I resent paying more for them to do things I don't have time for because I am busy earning the money to keep them there!:mad:
Bring back the birch, and hard labour. There are too many people who re-offend just to go back inside for the easy life. Yes this true, Claire.

I think there could be more punishments outside prisons, community service for one but not the mamby pamby stuff they do now, hard labour chained together so they can't escape and everyone can see who they are. Name 'em and shame 'em.

Ck
19-10-2006, 16:33
Think we are totally at the opposite ends of the spectrum regarding punishment/rehabilitation, but then, as you probably know, I'm a total leftie!

imo, individual's morals, beliefs and attitudes are far too complex of a thing to be put into one of two catorgories so I purposely take no notice of boxes but more notice of invidual opinions on specific subjects. Also, I believe that labelling someone something such as left wing or right wing runs the risk of them forming opinions just because they are expected to have them. I hope I'm not seen to fit into any specific catorgory. I prefer to think of myself as a free thinker and therefore I can change my opinion if someone manages to convince me that I'm wrong. :D

sixaparrat
19-10-2006, 17:29
Hang 'em all

Time Meddler
19-10-2006, 17:33
imo, individual's morals, beliefs and attitudes are far too complex of a thing to be put into one of two catorgories so I purposely take no notice of boxes but more notice of invidual opinions on specific subjects. Also, I believe that labelling someone something such as left wing or right wing runs the risk of them forming opinions just because they are expected to have them. I hope I'm not seen to fit into any specific catorgory. I prefer to think of myself as a free thinker and therefore I can change my opinion if someone manages to convince me that I'm wrong. :D

Nice post CK. I am generally more right than left but I have been becoming a little more left in my old age. Mind you, I always have had a red streak in me even though those who know me would say I was as blue as the sea. What it all proves though is that very few people really go along with EVERYTHING just because it is red or blue, or orange or even pink. Every issue is a separate thing and deserves to be thought about in its own right.

Earl
19-10-2006, 19:21
Just to add to that idea Timey, I think many issues can be tackled with both left and right wing ideals both used at once.
In the case of crime and punishment I'm quite happy to give Lefty ideas a go to try and prevent crime, but swing far right in agreeing with the actual punishment.