THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
WITHIN THE CUSTODIAL ENVIRONMENT.
The basic principle behind a custodial sentence is to allow the convicted person a period of reflection and in some ways atonement for their crime. The period a person spends in prison is time away from family and friends but also away from mainstream society. This lack of interaction with people outside of the custodial environment can, in many cases, lead to increased isolation and exposure to latent criminal behaviour and learning. In order to combat this it is important that prisoners maintain positive relationships in the following areas:
Between those family and friends on the outside.
Between those working in the custodial care environment.
Between other prisoners.
A variety of methods are employed to try and achieve the maintenance of positive relationships.
MAINTAINING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE OUTSIDE THE CUSTODIAL ENVIRONMENT.
On 31st October 2007 the population of UK prisons was 81,812. Of this figure there were 76,588 men and some 4,409 women. It is estimated that by the year 2014 this figure may easily reach in excess of 101,000 persons.
It is fair to say that for the majority of these inmates they leave loved-ones, family and friends when they are incarcerated. But once they have served their sentence they return to them – what happens in the mean time? In order for these people to be able to interact and function within their family units as well as society as a whole it is vital that these external relationships are maintained.
It is also fair to say that once locked up in prison they can suffer the same types of domestic arguments/difficulties as the rest of society – but are less able to rectify these issues due to their incarceration.
Not only does maintaining these relationships benefit the prisoner – it also benefits the prison service by meaning that there are less stressed and anxious prisoners with the potential for causing problems.
METHODS USED TO MAINTAIN EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS
HM Prison Service devotes a great deal of time and effort in supporting the families of those imprisoned in UK prisons. They have an informative web site (www.justice.gov.uk) with specific sections on advice to inmates and their families. The support includes:
An overview of life in a prison
Prisoners rights and responsibilities
A guide to visiting times
Advice on what can be brought in for prisoners
Advice on help with the cost of visiting someone in prison
Tracking of prisoners in specific prisons
Maintaining parental links
One of the most common problems faced by those in prison, especially when serving long sentences, is maintaining relationships with partners. The fear of a relationship breaking down or of the end of a relationship is the cause of many problems including:
Violence towards others
Violence or self-harm
Drug or alcohol abuse
Even though someone is in prison they still need support with these types of issues and therefore the prison service also needs to be able to provide support in the following areas:
Mental health issues
Prisons provide advice and counseling services for prisoners needed help and advice.
MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS WITH PRISON STAFF
The traditional relationship between prisoner and prison officer is often thought of as being fraught!
The role of the prison officer is to keep the prisoner locked up, make sure they abide by the rules and regulations and to report misdemeanors or offences committed by prisoners – all within a high security establishment!
Modern-day prison officers are a world apart from their “traditional” counterparts. A lot of people think they know what life inside a prison is like. They...
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