Thursday, January 11, 2007

More signs of McNulty's incompetence?

Whilst the subject may have slipped off the news agenda for now, as people will remember we have a prison population/overcrowding problem in the UK. It doesn't take a genius to realise that if you create reams of criminal justice legislation in ten years and creates lots of new crimes then you ought to be planning for the increase capacity to do it. As we all know though the Government is not even able to do that.

This said, we were told quite a lot in the news near the end of last year that the prisons were bursting and we were going to have to start using custody cells in Police stations which could handle the brief extra-capacity before we let some people escape prisoners were released at the end of their sentences thus creating extra-space once more.

Now at the time we were told this, one would assume that someone, somewhere, in the Home Office, had the figures to hand and thus knew how many cells were available in Police custody suites, in order to make such statements. However, in a written answer by Tony McNulty, it appears that that information isn't "held centrally" and will have the classic "disproportionate cost" to retrieve.

This response can surely only mean one of two things. Either, the statements by the Home Office that there was sufficient capacity in Police cells was based on no evidence whatsoever (if it wasn't McNulty could answer the question), or Tony McNulty is avoiding answering the question because overcrowding problems are even worse than they were before.

Interestingly, when you look at the figures relating to doubling in prisons since 1997 - where prison cells designed for one are used by two inmates - it certainly seems the whole system is at breaking point. In 1997 the average number of prisoners doubling was 9,498, that figure has risen each year and now stands at 16,986.

I wonder how long it is before McNulty resigns given his foreign prisoner track record and his more current problems? He's clearly utterly incompetent.


Praguetory said...

It is indeed unusual times when matching prison capacity to convicts is a policy, but that is indeed the case. Labour's own prisoner projections have been screaming at them to build prisons for years. Let's face it. They don't actually agree with punishing criminals. Their negligence is criminal. I look forward to a victim of crime taking the government to court for criminal negligence.

haddock said...

McNulty's missus is on the case, as Ofsted chief she has read the "Dummies Guide to Montessori Teaching" and will ensure that all future Ministers and Civil Servants can count.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the issue is regarding women's prisons, can you check that out with your access to various data. Is it just men's prisons, or are women's prisons equally overcrowded?

James Higham said...

This is becoming worrying. I like to look at long term trends or to see what they're aiming at. There is a precedent for both convict hulks [thence to Australia] in the Thames and for holding camps for the prison overflow. It seems to me, as they're shaping up for a very militarized, curfewed, bomb shelter society awaiting the ineveitable terorrist attack and into this is woven the prisons policy.