Keep people out of prisons

While a great many of the questions Andrew Coyle has been asked during his appearance at the Ashley Smith inquest have been about the most serious end of things, i.e. dealing with segregation (or whatever one wishes to call it), I very much appreciate that he persists in trying to put forward the notion that the best approach is early intervention.

Ideally, to keep people out of prisons altogether – but if/when they must be incarcerated, then there too, intervene sooner, rather than later…. don’t let things get to the point where extended segregation is required.

Of course, given my interest specifically in the influence of surveillance in Ashley’s case, I am particularly taken by Coyle’s approach to prisons. He related that when he first went to Brixton Prison, he invited the media in, allowing them full access; an approach that led to the development of a code of ethics for corrections officers, increased engagement with community agencies and volunteers, and a great deal of positive change.

Given CSC’s resistance to transparency – and the Harper government’s record in that respect as well – just can’t see anything like that happening any time soon… but just imagine!


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