Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/731/15112

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 August 2012

Prison work

'3 a day is exploitation for profit'

Prison Officers Association National Chairman PJ McParlin addresses National Shop Stewards Network conference, 9 June 2012 , photo by Suzanne Beishon

Prison Officers Association National Chairman PJ McParlin addresses National Shop Stewards Network conference, 9 June 2012 , photo by Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Dozens of inmates at Prescoed prison in Monmouthshire are being bussed out to a call centre to work for just 3 a day - 6% of the minimum wage.

The Socialist spoke to PJ McParlin, national chair of the POA, about the prison officer union's attitude to this and Tory justice secretary Ken Clarke's aim of having 20,000 prisoners working within ten years.


A company is bussing out inmates to work in a call centre. What is the POA's response?

I know some people don't have much sympathy for prisoners but they're not all mass murderers or people who have committed horrendous crimes - they're mostly people who've made a mistake. A lot of them have had appalling upbringings and now the state is exploiting them.

It would be bad enough if it was 3 an hour but 3 a day can be nothing else but exploitation to make profit.

At 3 a day, you're going to impinge on outside work. For that reason the POA, NAPO, the lecturers' union and the TUC have rejected the government's protocol because we don't believe that it gives the safeguards that are necessary.

What does the POA think about Ken Clarke's aim to double the number of prison workers within ten years?

We think right idea, wrong route. They should be concentrating on education and addiction therapy. If you can't read the safety notice then there's an immediate problem. If you're addicted to drugs, alcohol, or whatever, there's a problem in being safe in work.

They've paid a lot of lip-service to diverting people with mental health issues, because prison's not the place for them. Last year they trumpeted that they'd spent 600,000 on training prison officers in mental health issues. That might be a lot of money to you and me, but in the reality of the system it's absolutely nothing. They need to be diverting people away from prison who shouldn't be in prison.

Within these prison factories, they're talking about replicating outside work. A lot of prisoners have medical issues so they need to see the doctor or a nurse on a daily basis. That has to be moved to the evening. You've got to have recreation for any worker - that has to be moved to the evening. The evening is when the number of prison staff - prison officers, probation officers, nurses and so on - is at its minimum. Turning all that round has a cost and I don't think they've got the money to do it.

Do you think there's a case for some training and other rehabilitation to limit reoffending?

To a great extent that work happens now. But the problem that prevents proper rehabilitation in prisons is the cost. They're closing prisons - it's a government policy. Ken Clarke uses the word 'superfluous' which we wouldn't recognise. Of the 135 prisons in England and Wales, at the end of April 85 of them were overcrowded. If they really believe in rehabilitation, Clarke would end overcrowding, which would allow staff to interact and work with offenders.

Last year they closed HMP Latchmere House in London. They closed it because the land value in Richmond was, I imagine, very high. That was the best performing prison in the United Kingdom in terms of rehabilitation.

How is the POA working with other trade unions?

We took action on 10 May alongside other trade unions who are still opposing the pension proposals. That was a brave step - my members haven't got the right to take industrial action. But if the issue is right we have to take action. The retirement age of 68 is wrong for a schoolteacher, it's wrong for somebody digging a road and it's certainly wrong for prison officers in the charged atmosphere of the prisons.

We were pleased last year to take to the TUC a motion about the 40-hour work in prisons initiative of the government. We've worked closely with other unions in the criminal justice system, and also support the National Shop Stewards Network.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 29 August 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Build for a 24-hour general strike!

The Julian Assange case

Galloway's ignorant comments

Gove stole our exam grades!

Crisis services handed over to charity food banks

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Building workers fight pay cut threat

Sparks protest at London Crown House site

Local government pension scheme

Sheffield recycling workers to resume strike action


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Jobs and homes, not racism

East Midlands: Save our ambulance service

NHS: Unions must defend national pay bargaining

TUSC councillor rejects Walsall cuts 'consultation'


Prisons

Prison work - 3 a day is exploitation for profit

Women's prisons - Con-Dems' 'reforms' mean cuts and privatisation


International socialist news and analysis

Norway: Mass murderer Anders Breivik gets life sentence

Kazakhstan: Human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin freed


Reviews and comments

Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life

Fight council tax benefit cuts

The 'madness' of building homes


Socialist Party news

Notting Hill carnival-goers support Lonmin miners

Socialist Party summer camp

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Save our computer server!


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 August 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  




Related links:

Prisons:

triangle4,800 young people hurt after officers 'restrain' them

triangleRate of black imprisonment worse than US

trianglePrison deaths scandal

triangleAction needed to defend workers at the sharp end of prisons crisis

POA:

triangleNSSN lobby of the TUC 2017: rank-and-file solidarity to smash the pay cap

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleWhy prison officers rejected pay and pensions deal

Prison officers:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleLessons of the 'N30' 2011 pension strike

triangleMass prison officer walkout over health and safety

Minimum wage:

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/2/18

Election

Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

14/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice

14/2/18

Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

14/2/18

TUSC

Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

14/2/18

EU

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in

14/2/18

Rents

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

14/2/18

Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

14/2/18

NHS

We can win the fight for the NHS

7/2/18

Labour

NHS - build the fightback

7/2/18

Labour

Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

7/2/18

Haringey

Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council

7/2/18

Refugees

90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes

7/2/18

Outsourcing

Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house

7/2/18

Trump

Trump v NHS

31/1/18

NHS

NHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999