What's the story?
21-year-old Daniel Khalife escaped from Wandsworth prison last week. He was captured by a police officer but questions were raised about the security of the prison. At the same time, a German court refused to extradite a man to the UK due to concerns over conditions.
So how bad is it?
As far back as the 1770s, accounts described English prisons as significantly worse than other European countries and this still holds water today. In the last decade, budgets were cut and staffing reduced in volume and experience. As a result, assaults have risen against both prisoners and staff, as well as self-harm, drug use and rundown infrastructure. A third of UK prisons have been deemed unsafe.
Why should I care?
These prisons, other than being an obvious human rights violation, cannot operate effectively as a site for rehabilitation. We can learn a lot from the nordic model which provides a sense of wellbeing and agency to their inhabitants, equipping them with the tools to eventually re-enter society. Otherwise, what's the point?