Kenneth Clarke, the combative old school Tory, who is Justice Minister in Cameron/Clegg’s new UK coalition government has outlined his plans for major prison reform in his first major speech since taking office.

(Before preceding any further, I should say that beyond all the UK news outlets you should always consult John Hirst‘s opinion at Jail House Lawyer blog as regards the politics of prisons and the perceptions of prisoners & crime in the UK. He’s a bit irreverent but he’ll deliver the silenced opinion.)

RADICAL, EH?

From the BBC: Justice Secretary plans ‘radical’ prison policy change

Of course, anything is radical compared to then justice minister, Michael Howard taking a head-up-his-own-ass approach and declaring in 1993 that “Prison’s work”. Let’s see if Clarke and the Tories can undo 17 years of disastrous policy, which it is fair to say Labour made their own during their time in government (1997-2010)

PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve looked at photographic projects in the UK before, particularly at the work of Edmund Clark, Casey Orr, the iconic photography of Ged Murray and Don McPhee at Strangeways and even young offenders using Facebook from behind bars.

WRITING

For the best account of prisons during the past disastrous 20 years, read Sir David Ramsbotham’s Prisongate. Ramsbotham was the independently-appointed Chief Inspectorate of UK prisons (1995-2000). His findings were shocking and surprised many who were deep in the British culture of corrections. (Ramsbotham offers his opinion in the BBC piece linked to here.)

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