Brutal Treatment of Prisoners in the UK

Brutal Treatment of Prisoners in the UK

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In the world we live in today there is, has been, and always will be an infinite amount of controversies throughout society. Perhaps one of the most important, being that it could jeopardize our existence, is the debate of how to deal with what most everyone would consider unwanted. The members of the prison population can range from petty thieves to cold hearted serial killers; so the conflict arises on how they can all be dealt with the most efficient way. The sides can result in a wide range of opinions such as simply thinking a slap on the wrist is sufficient; to even thinking that death is the only way such a lesson can be learned. While many believe it is ok to punish and torture prisoners, others feel that cruel treatment of prison inmates is wrong because it is thought to be immoral and too extreme as opposed to deprived freedom and rehabilitation.
Although many people believe that the cruel treatment and torturing of prisoners is wrong and against everything that they stand for the act is still committed on a very frequent basis. Over the years there has been many incidents with evidence of brutal treatment of prisoners where they starved them, deprived them of sleep, and threatened them with execution. The prisoners were also forced to stay in stressful positions for up to thirty hours at a time while they were beaten and even in some cases tortured through electrical shocks (The Guardian). In many prisons in the UK muslims have started an uprising and are forcing inmates to convert using bullying and intimidation. The prison guards and administration fear this may lead to an outbreak in terrorist attacks. The officers claim nothing is being done about it and the people are too afraid to speak out (Muslims Worldwide). This is a very obvious problem that is continuing to grow throughout the UK putting everyone at an increasingly greater risk for safety both inside and outside of prison. These acts of violence will not only happen in high security prisons, though it does occur more frequently in them. The difference between a jail and prison is that jails are most often run by sheriffs and or local governments and are designed to hold individuals awaiting trial or are serving short sentences; whereas prisons are operated by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and are designed to hold individuals convicted of crimes.

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However in some cases the jails are just as harsh and unforgiving as the prisons. According to mail online magazine: “ A man turns himself in for a misdemeanor marijuana charge and the next morning his mother receives a call informing her that her son is dead… the man called the guards for help as he died from an allergic reaction to his food, but the guards ignored him, he was dead in five minutes.” The average guard typically only has to visit other prisons twelve to fifteen times a year, because of the increase in prison population, specifically Iraqis in UK, the average is now up to a staggering forty to fifty prisons a year. Police brutally abused the prisoners in a UK prison resulting in the suspension of twenty seven officers and convictions of six for assault, forty five inmates sued for a total of 1.7 million pounds in Compensation ( However, careless guards are not the only cause of prison abuse, many prisoners cause each other so much mental and physical stress that the inmates simply break down or they resort to violence in return. Paul Matth, a lawyer from firm GT Stewart, says: “ The prison system is a disgrace. We’re creating criminals of the future due to the lack of chance for rehabilitation.” The system is not only corrupt and relentlessly cruel but it is slowly destroying the population as we know it.
On the other side of the debate are the people typically seen from day to day in our lives that fight for their loved ones by bringing up the cases to the supreme court in which they have been mistreated and abused severely. With over 3000 people arrested in connection with riots and the most recent numbers showing that 70% in court were put in custody instead of the usual 10%, there are many concerns about whether or not the prison system can hold up ( These people believe that sending people to jail over petty crimes is not only wasting resources but even lives due to the fact that prisons are so commonly filled with corrupt guards and ruthless gangs and offenders. In the United Kingdom prisons are taking a serious toll on the youth. Children from ages fifteen to seventeen have now become serious criminals. Since 1990 twenty two kids have committed suicide due to being subjected to bullying and other violence within the prison system. Because of these occurrences a statutory independent CRC was sent to represent 11.3 million children. This resulted in all children under the age of 17 to be completely removed from the prison system to prevent similar problems in the future (ebsco article children rights). Lawyer Phil Shiner states: “It is nonsense to suggest it is a case of a few bad apples,that is absolutely not the case, people at the very highest level know what was going on. They aren’t just allegations; I have no doubt a public inquiry can get to the bottom of this.” The British army’s high command stands being accused of officially ordering the hooding and mistreatment of prisoners. Not only are prisoners tortured in the small time prisons but the army is specifically ordering their troops to torture captives beyond the point of simple interrogation. According to an interview of Major Royce: “He asked why it was taking place. I explained that I had cleared it with the chain command. He was happy that the chain of command… had given us that clearance.” The people of the public have brought these cases to the highest authorities trying to solve the problem of abuse and now what seems to be a corrupt government doing what they can to get what they want.
There is truly no way to solve a problem in which more comes to mind then just a simple quarrel that can be solved by reason or fact. Over time it is possible that the two ideas may come together creating a balanced system in which prisoners will not only be rehabilitated but not forced by threats or torture. The current experience of prison can devastate an individual in more than one way. Not only will there be a debate on how it affects them but if it’s even worth all the trouble they are sent through. According to The Guardian newspaper: “ the inmate has now been released but was left so mentally scared that he will need residential care to cope with the damage. He has repeated nightmares and flashbacks regarding his time in prison.” Changing the prison system is definitely a risky subject because there are many pros and cons of changing the system. If not treated properly it is highly possible for the system to only get worse through change due to a lack of support and an inexperienced workforce and or government. However this being said if the system was changed in a positive way it is very likely that the decrease in prison inmates will significantly decrease to an all time low and our society will begin to naturally rebuild itself from the inside out. It is a debate that may never be resolved due to the basic fact of human nature. Humans tend to be naturally prone to acting a specific way though it is different from person to person. No one is perfect. Therefore making the standard hard to set and teach when in fact many people do not even follow the guidelines themselves.Which brings up a question asked by Justice minister Ken Clarke and David Cameron:” To punish or to rehabilitate, to follow evidence or gut instinct?” Being that we are only human it is very difficult to go against our beliefs but when evidence says otherwise it is hard to just look the other way.
In the end there is no way to tell what really should be done in such a scenario. Should we change the way things are and work in hopes of a better world and society? Or should we continue with our current ways and wish for the best? This being said there are things that do need to change. A government in which they do not even follow their own rules is one that is sure to fail and lose faith in the millions under them. Another thing that needs to change regardless is the torturing, beating, and overall abuse of prisoners; there is a major difference between the cruel treatment and harshness towards prisoners and just flat out torturing and abusing beyond the point of reason and ethics. The act of physically and mentally depriving someone to the point of death or wanting to die is unacceptable no matter what the circumstance and only drives the world further apart from manifest destiny.

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