Imagine a country where, at the stroke of a pen and without any recourse to a judge, a faceless Government official can deprive someone of their liberty and, at the stroke of a pen, consign them indefinitely to what to all intents and purposes is a prison, without them having being charged with or convicted of any crime. That country is Britain. And if you thought that this use of state power was characteristic only of dictatorships or tyrannies, then think again, as it's happening here, on our doorstep, under our noses, without any fuss and certainly without any publicity.
For many of the women who take these chances for better work or education, prison, or sometimes detention centres, can be a terrifying ordeal. With a lack of family presence and a very likely language and culture barrier, getting the right advice or support can be almost impossible for foreign national women,
Chris Grayling doesn't know what's going on. Some might argue that this is true generally, but I'm talking about the "book ban". He didn't mean for it to happen, he didn't intend to deprive prisoners, and he doesn't have a good answer to the criticism that's being levelled at him. And the fuss is part of a wider and even more concerning issue.
Research shows that young adults have the largest potential to change their lives and "grow out of crime", but inappropriate interventions can halt this desistance process. In addition, this group are likely to require more one-to-one support in the adult estate where they may be more vulnerable due to their age and maturity to prevent violence or self-harm.
It is a little known fact that during his 27 years of imprisonment Nelson Mandela studied a law degree as a distance learning student with the University of London. Although none, as far as I am aware, of the many prisoner distance learners we funded have become a president; thousands have used the opportunity of education in prison to change for the better.
The problem of drugs in society will not be solved by allowing drugs in prison, but it might make the time go more quickly for the inmates and it might make the job easier for the guards. And if it is true that drugs are as easily available inside as a latte is on the outside, then that rather makes the "War On Drugs" even more unlikely ever to be won...