'What’s the line by the great Noam Chomsky about privatisation? “Defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”
HM Prison Bedford seems a textbook example of this behaviour.
According to reports in many newspapers (this one‘s from The Guardian), one inmate caught and killed multiple rats in his cell during an inspection, while another – who had disabilities – was in a cell with no adaptations and had been provided with a wheelchair that could not be self-propelled and was therefore almost utterly useless.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke reported that two years of efforts to improve standards had failed, and they were continuing to decline.
In addition to the references to the disabled prisoner and the rat-catcher, he also referred to cells as “filthy and decrepit” and warned that the toilets did not flush properly.
Self-harm had increased substantially and there had been five self-inflicted deaths since the previous inspection in 2016.
Almost half of prisoners surveyed said it was easy to get illicit drugs, and a fifth said that they had developed a drug problem while in the jail. The smell of cannabis and other burning substances pervaded some wings, with one officer saying: “If it’s just cannabis, it’s a good day.”
And there was a serious lack of control on the wings as prison officers were inexperienced and struggled to exert authority over prisoners who did not obey basic rules or conform to expected behaviour.'
Read more: Tories are working hard to make prisons ripe for privatisation – the rats are already there
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