Above, Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands. Today’s disturbing report in the Guardian demonstrates a fundamental problem in this country – a problem other countries also have. It is this: There are no votes in prisons.
We are not referring here to the issue of extending the franchise to prisoners but to the political difficulty in that every £1 of taxpayers money – and let us repeat the mantra that governments do not have any money. What money they have is taxpayers money – spent on the prison estate cannot be spent on the NHS.
Ask the average voter where if they would agree to have some of the money directed to the NHS spent on HM Prisons, most would say no. If one was to say to these people: We have to spend money on prisons because the conditions for prisoners are very poor and dangerous to them – You would often get the harsh reply:
“Well the criminals should have thought of that before committing their crime!”
The fact is that drugs are a HUGE problem in prison. We will not repeat what the Guardian journalist has penned, merely direct the reader to read that article. The problem is one of enforcing a perimeter. Stopping drugs from getting into the prison. The problem is that associates of the prisoners and prisoners themselves will resort to devious methods to smuggle in contraband. An effective way to deal with this would be to place the prisons a very great distance away from the British mainland. Like the Falklands.
Prisoners however need contact with their families and the outside world. This contact however needs to be controlled. In previous decades before the internet isolating prisoners of the Falklands would have been impractical as it would have required regular subsidised visits to the Falklands for the families and friends of the prisoners at taxpayers expense. The internet however can solve this. True there will not be physical contact but it is the physical contact that is the problem.
Insofar as which prisoners should be sent to the Falklands, clearly the answer to that is long term prisoners.