The Bishop And The Prisoner

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012012010220120505

(01/03)

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In this first programme, James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons. He witnesses the "processing" of inmates as they go through prison reception (or "The Churn" ) and gets out of the way of officers on the walkways responding to alarms that are always sounding. He measures a cell (12 paces by 9). He talks to prisoners - first-timers, old hands, self-harmers - about why they are there. Governors and prison officers tell him how they seek to manage inmates' routines and behaviour, and about the importance of looking out for themselves - when two staff can be responsible for a wing holding sixty prisoners, it doesn't do to let your guard down.

The prison population is at record levels, having almost doubled in the last twenty years. The Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke says he doesn't understand how it has been allowed to get so big, and lambasts attempts of previous Governments to cut crime by giving longer sentences as "pathetic". He tells the Bishop that his aim is to reduce the re-offending rate. Yes, it will help his department's bottom line, but it's common sense too.

How to cut re-offending is the million dollar question. Prisoners, governors and commentators seem to agree that an offender only stops committing crimes when he decides he's had enough; as one said, "I've got too old for it - my heart isn't in it anymore." The deprivation of liberty, courses in thinking skills and literacy don't seem to work as effectively as the simple passage of time.

If prison doesn't reduce re-offending, does that mean it doesn't work?

Prison is also there to punish - though some say it doesn't do that well enough.

In one obvious sense prison is effective; while prisoners are locked away from society, they can't commit crime on the outside. But if prison is to mend the prisoner as well as incarcerate him, it must do more - and that is the focus of the next programme.

This programme was first broadcast on January 2nd 2012.

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In this first programme, James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons. He witnesses the "processing" of inmates as they go through prison reception (or "The Churn" ) and gets out of the way of officers on the walkways responding to alarms that are always sounding. He measures a cell (12 paces by 9). He talks to prisoners - first-timers, old hands, self-harmers - about why they are there. Governors and prison officers tell him how they seek to manage inmates' routines and behaviour, and about the importance of looking out for themselves - when two staff can be responsible for a wing holding sixty prisoners, it doesn't do to let your guard down.

The prison population is at record levels, having almost doubled in the last twenty years. The Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke says he doesn't understand how it has been allowed to get so big, and lambasts attempts of previous Governments to cut crime by giving longer sentences as "pathetic". He tells the Bishop that his aim is to reduce the re-offending rate. Yes, it will help his department's bottom line, but it's common sense too.

How to cut re-offending is the million dollar question. Prisoners, governors and commentators seem to agree that an offender only stops committing crimes when he decides he's had enough; as one said, "I've got too old for it - my heart isn't in it anymore." The deprivation of liberty, courses in thinking skills and literacy don't seem to work as effectively as the simple passage of time.

The Rt Rev James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons.

The bishop of Liverpool goes behind bars to ask what prisons are for.

012012010220120505

(01/03)

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In this first programme, James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons. He witnesses the "processing" of inmates as they go through prison reception (or "The Churn" ) and gets out of the way of officers on the walkways responding to alarms that are always sounding. He measures a cell (12 paces by 9). He talks to prisoners - first-timers, old hands, self-harmers - about why they are there. Governors and prison officers tell him how they seek to manage inmates' routines and behaviour, and about the importance of looking out for themselves - when two staff can be responsible for a wing holding sixty prisoners, it doesn't do to let your guard down.

The prison population is at record levels, having almost doubled in the last twenty years. The Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke says he doesn't understand how it has been allowed to get so big, and lambasts attempts of previous Governments to cut crime by giving longer sentences as "pathetic". He tells the Bishop that his aim is to reduce the re-offending rate. Yes, it will help his department's bottom line, but it's common sense too.

How to cut re-offending is the million dollar question. Prisoners, governors and commentators seem to agree that an offender only stops committing crimes when he decides he's had enough; as one said, "I've got too old for it - my heart isn't in it anymore." The deprivation of liberty, courses in thinking skills and literacy don't seem to work as effectively as the simple passage of time.

If prison doesn't reduce re-offending, does that mean it doesn't work?

Prison is also there to punish - though some say it doesn't do that well enough.

In one obvious sense prison is effective; while prisoners are locked away from society, they can't commit crime on the outside. But if prison is to mend the prisoner as well as incarcerate him, it must do more - and that is the focus of the next programme.

This programme was first broadcast on January 2nd 2012.

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In this first programme, James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons. He witnesses the "processing" of inmates as they go through prison reception (or "The Churn" ) and gets out of the way of officers on the walkways responding to alarms that are always sounding. He measures a cell (12 paces by 9). He talks to prisoners - first-timers, old hands, self-harmers - about why they are there. Governors and prison officers tell him how they seek to manage inmates' routines and behaviour, and about the importance of looking out for themselves - when two staff can be responsible for a wing holding sixty prisoners, it doesn't do to let your guard down.

The prison population is at record levels, having almost doubled in the last twenty years. The Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke says he doesn't understand how it has been allowed to get so big, and lambasts attempts of previous Governments to cut crime by giving longer sentences as "pathetic". He tells the Bishop that his aim is to reduce the re-offending rate. Yes, it will help his department's bottom line, but it's common sense too.

How to cut re-offending is the million dollar question. Prisoners, governors and commentators seem to agree that an offender only stops committing crimes when he decides he's had enough; as one said, "I've got too old for it - my heart isn't in it anymore." The deprivation of liberty, courses in thinking skills and literacy don't seem to work as effectively as the simple passage of time.

The Rt Rev James Jones visits Liverpool, High Down and Forest Bank prisons.

The bishop of Liverpool goes behind bars to ask what prisons are for.

022012010920120512

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

Prisoners who are released from prison without a job to go to are far more likely to re-offend than those who have. In this second programme, the Bishop visits training schemes which offer inmates a chance to gain new skills and may even guarantee them a job. The shoe manufacturer Timpsons has training workshops in Liverpool and Forest Bank; High Down is home to the infamous Clink restaurant where prisoners cook and serve Michelin-style food to members of the public.

But rehabilitation may depend more on a change of heart than a change in circumstance. The Government says all the evidence points to the effectiveness of Restorative Justice schemes in cutting re-offending - whether through Victim awareness schemes, encounters between victims and perpetrators, Community Payback or the offender making financial reparations.

James Jones hears from prisoners who say that encountering a victim has changed their lives. Some victims tell him that Restorative Justice has positively transformed their own lives; others feel that the Government's emphasis on it sidelines victims yet further within the Criminal Justice system. Prisons minister Crispin Blunt responds.

In his encounters with prisoners and ex-offenders, the Bishop challenges those who seek to evade responsibility for their crimes, and those who think that, while they are worth rehabilitating, others are not.

This programme was first broadcast on January 9th 2012.

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

Redeeming the irredeemable? The Bishop of Liverpool talks to offenders and victims.

Redeeming the irredeemable? A Bishop considers the chances of rehabilitating.

022012010920120512

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

Prisoners who are released from prison without a job to go to are far more likely to re-offend than those who have. In this second programme, the Bishop visits training schemes which offer inmates a chance to gain new skills and may even guarantee them a job. The shoe manufacturer Timpsons has training workshops in Liverpool and Forest Bank; High Down is home to the infamous Clink restaurant where prisoners cook and serve Michelin-style food to members of the public.

But rehabilitation may depend more on a change of heart than a change in circumstance. The Government says all the evidence points to the effectiveness of Restorative Justice schemes in cutting re-offending - whether through Victim awareness schemes, encounters between victims and perpetrators, Community Payback or the offender making financial reparations.

James Jones hears from prisoners who say that encountering a victim has changed their lives. Some victims tell him that Restorative Justice has positively transformed their own lives; others feel that the Government's emphasis on it sidelines victims yet further within the Criminal Justice system. Prisons minister Crispin Blunt responds.

In his encounters with prisoners and ex-offenders, the Bishop challenges those who seek to evade responsibility for their crimes, and those who think that, while they are worth rehabilitating, others are not.

This programme was first broadcast on January 9th 2012.

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners - voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

Redeeming the irredeemable? The Bishop of Liverpool talks to offenders and victims.

Redeeming the irredeemable? A Bishop considers the chances of rehabilitating.

03 LAST2012011620120519

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies The Rt Revd James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners and ex-offenders- voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In the final programme, James Jones meets ex-offenders taking part in a variety of probation initiatives in Merseyside designed to cut re-offending and "pay back" the community for crimes committed. Three men on the Persistent Priority Offender scheme commend the programme for providing the supervision they found lacking on earlier probation orders. In a moving interview a mentor with the service, Lynsey, says probation saved her from prison, crime and alcoholism and her children from life in care. The Bishop visits the North Liverpool Justice Centre, a kind of one-stop-Justice shop which residents say has transformed their community but which the Government considers too expensive to replicate elsewhere.

This programme was first broadcast on January 16th 2012.

03 LAST20120116

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners and ex-offenders- voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In the final programme, James Jones meets ex-offenders taking part in a variety of probation initiatives in Merseyside designed to cut re-offending and "pay back" the community for crimes committed. Three men on the Persistent Priority Offender scheme commend the programme for providing the supervision they found lacking on earlier probation orders. In a moving interview a mentor with the service, Lynsey, says probation saved her from prison, crime and alcoholism and her children from life in care. The Bishop visits the North Liverpool Justice Centre, a kind of one-stop-Justice shop which residents say has transformed their community but which the Government considers too expensive to replicate elsewhere.

Going soft? The Bishop of Liverpool considers whether community sentencing works.

03 LAST2012011620120519

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies The Rt Revd James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners and ex-offenders- voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In the final programme, James Jones meets ex-offenders taking part in a variety of probation initiatives in Merseyside designed to cut re-offending and "pay back" the community for crimes committed. Three men on the Persistent Priority Offender scheme commend the programme for providing the supervision they found lacking on earlier probation orders. In a moving interview a mentor with the service, Lynsey, says probation saved her from prison, crime and alcoholism and her children from life in care. The Bishop visits the North Liverpool Justice Centre, a kind of one-stop-Justice shop which residents say has transformed their community but which the Government considers too expensive to replicate elsewhere.

This programme was first broadcast on January 16th 2012.

03 LAST20120116

In this three part series the BBC is given a rare degree of access to prisons as it accompanies the Rt Rev James Jones, the Church of England's "Bishop for prisons," into the country's jails. Conversations with prisoners and ex-offenders- voices rarely heard on radio - are the centrepieces of these programmes, but the Bishop also talks to prison staff, politicians and opinion-formers about what prison should be for, how prisoners can be helped to become useful citizens and whether community sentences can ever win the public's confidence as a viable alternative to prison.

In the final programme, James Jones meets ex-offenders taking part in a variety of probation initiatives in Merseyside designed to cut re-offending and "pay back" the community for crimes committed. Three men on the Persistent Priority Offender scheme commend the programme for providing the supervision they found lacking on earlier probation orders. In a moving interview a mentor with the service, Lynsey, says probation saved her from prison, crime and alcoholism and her children from life in care. The Bishop visits the North Liverpool Justice Centre, a kind of one-stop-Justice shop which residents say has transformed their community but which the Government considers too expensive to replicate elsewhere.

Going soft? The Bishop of Liverpool considers whether community sentencing works.