News headlines over the last few weeks in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and indeed elsewhere, have been dominated by protests organised by the movement Black Lives Matters, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In that city, the local council has voted to dismantle the existing police department, as protestors make the call to ‘defund the police’.
On the same day as the adjudication discussed in the previous Justice and Fairness blog post, we attended a second adjudication at the same prison. The second adjudication was very clearly unfair, in terms of the charge that was brought and the process itself.
The programme on justice and fairness will look at everyday injustice as well as procedural justice in prisons. Prison regimes are rife with everyday injustices: inconsistent processes, arbitrary decisions, bureaucratic delays, ignored complaints, poor living conditions and the lack of privacy afforded by a shared cell.
Aylesbury prison holds young adults, mainly teenagers, and it has been one of the worst prisons in the country for years. It was so awful that it was put into emergency special measures and half the young men were shipped out to other jails – many of which are only marginally better. Despite the extra help, a new inspection shows it is still desperately awful.
It seems apposite today to post a guest blog about justice in prisons. The Ministry of Justice is making exorbitant claims about making ten of the worst-performing prisons into models for the rest to follow, and all in one year.