In prison

Bit of variety today. I ended up at the Open Day for the new Visitors’ Centre at Perth Prison. This has play facilities for children and space for family members – many of whom will have travelled long distances – to wait either for their visiting time or for their transport home. I have had a bit of contact with the world of prisons over the years – mostly as a member of the Board of Visitors at Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast. That was interesting – is that the right word? – because the prisoners were mainly paramilitaries who did not regard themselves as criminals and had their own command structure, etc., within the prison. I found the conditions in Perth Prison pretty bad when I visited last year – the present rebuilding programme should improve things considerably. But what I really can’t cope with is the number of people whom we lock up in this society. It just can’t be right.

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