Area Meeting

Prisons Week 15th to 21st November 2015


Imprisonment … offers some protection to society by removing the offender. But consider how limited that protection is compared to what it could be. It puts the offender against property into a place where he is deprived of opportunities to practise the social rules about property; it puts the violent man into a subculture which is governed by violence; it puts the defrauder into a power system where corruption is rife; it puts the sexual offender into a place where sexual relief is only obtainable by substitutes; … it puts those who need to learn to take control of their lives into a situation where all significant choices are made for them; and it puts the offender who is likely to reform into a milieu where most of the influences on him or her are criminal ones.

John Lampen, 1987

Quaker Faith and Practice 23.101

Prisons Week is a time designated by the churches in the United kingdom for us to think about those in prisons, the staff, the offenders, their victims and families. There are many who believe strongly that prison cannot be the answer as the prison population, now 85,000 in this country,  continues to grow and 45% of adult offenders are reconvicted within one year of release.

I am including  this link to Canadian Friends Service Committee(Quakers) site on which there is a 40 minute film about penal reform. There is much in the film to provoke thought about the current retributative system of justice. Although the figures quoted apply to the Canadian system not ours the essential truths about custodial sentences are true for both.

"Penal Abolition: Anthem for a more tolerant tomorrow"