Real work in prison

We held a master class in Parliament yesterday to inform civil servants, Parliamentarians and lobby groups about the practical issues around real work in prisons.  Chaired by Ben Gummer MP, we heard from Blair Gibbs from Policy Exchange, Professor Penny Green from Kings College, London, and I spoke about the Howard League’s experience as being the only people ever to have run a real business inside a prison.

One of the issues to be addressed is which industries should be located inside prisons.

An article in today’s Guardian gives a pointer.  At least 27 people died in a fire in a factory in Bangladesh that was making clothes for the high street retailer Gap.  The report says that 60 people were seen jumping off the 10th floor to avoid the fire.  Another report recently indicated that up to 55 million children in India are involved in illegal working.  We need to do two things here, enforce fair trade and make sure that working conditions abroad are as safe and appropriately remunerated as work in our own country, and secondly, we could bring some of this work back and have well run factories inside prisons.  The scale of prison work is always going to be small so it would not impinge on taking work away from properly run factories in other countries.  The rag trade had a history inside prisons, but of course it was exploitative and mundane in the past.  The opportunity exists now to transform work in prisons.

December 15, 2010 · · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Howard League, Inside prisons, Prisons

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