Monday, September 15, 2008

Escaping the Perpetual Incarceration Machine - Sep 2007 Lessons from Hargrave House by J.M. Moore

By John Moore: -

"Ex-prisoner re-entry into the community has always been problematic both for the individual ex-prisoner and society. Re-entry is characterised by a multitude of practical problems, including access to community resources, marginalisation and social exclusion. Despite substantial government resources being invested in the ‘reducing re-offending initiative', the majority of ex-prisoners continue to end up back in contact with the criminal justice system. Their sentence may have ended but they have not escaped prison.

My own experience of over 20 years of working with ex-prisoners in a housing context has demonstrated that ex-prisoners with long histories of homelessness and involvement with the criminal justice system can, with relatively minimal assistance, successfully re-establish their lives in the community, avoiding contact with law enforcement agencies, allowing them to escape future imprisonment.

This dissertation explores the process of re-entry of prisoners back into the community, utilising the history of Hargrave House (where I worked from 1984 to 1990) and other community projects. It identifies how these enable ex-prisoners to successfully re-enter the community. It critically examines contemporary policies which claim to assist the process of prisoner re-entry and demonstrates that the ‘lessons from Hargrave' are largely ignored as punitive objectives dominate penal policy, resulting in the further social exclusion of ex-prisoners and for many a return to the ‘perpetual incarceration machine."

A copy of John's disertation can be seen at 'Comment and Opinion' in this blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the author of this observation. However a long term strategy should be to create a mechanism, that assists retiring servicemen and women, offering them comprehensive skills training before they leave the service. Also a full audit should be carried out on their financial status and provide short term assistance where required. In the meantime the many thousands of ex-service personnel who are currently in prison or homeless need to be looked after now. They could be looked after by retired service personnel who can retrain, build up morale whilst speaking the same language. They basically need a "buddy". There should be halfway houses to accomodate them from the streets or from prison. They would feel more comfortable being looked after by people who they can identify with and understand their problems with a practical "eye".
Their are many excellent retired service personnel who could form a HELPCORP to look after their welfare. This would free up prisons and get these people off the streets. What an indictment for the government to see war heroes reduced to poverty.

Tony Smith MBE