The Herald editorial is rather bizarre. The headline is:
Work in jail scheme will do more harm than good
Now that is a very definitive statement. It is not saying there are complications, or it *may* do more harm than good. It is a definitive statement that it will definitely do more harm than good.
Yet I read the entire editorial, and they don’t actually produce anything to back up the assertion. They talk about the complications and the extra costs that may be incurred, but that is again vastly different from stating outright that having additional working prisons will do more harm than good.
Now let us look at what the Herald says is so awful:
Ms Tolley has conceded the plan will require “significant infrastructure upgrades”.
Presumably she is referring to the workplace equipment that will need to be installed in prisons. The costs do not, however, end there. There is the expense involved in work training and tuition for the inmates.
Oh my God. We will spend money on training and tuition for prisoners. How awful.
I’m skeptical of many types of government spending. There’s a lot of programmes I would personally cut, to allow a reduction in taxes. But you know I don’t have a huge problem with training and tuition for prisoners.
Already, however, the British Prison Officers Association has complained that this is exploitative of prisoners and risks damaging the wider economy. “We have concerns about simply using prisoners as cheap labour for companies to cut their costs,” it has said. That cutting means, inevitably, that in some cases prisoners are taking the jobs of people in the community.
That is a potential concern, but we already have some work being done. The challenge is making sure the work done has minimal impact on other jobs. But again the editorial provides no substance to back up their assertion the expansion of work in prisons will “do more harm than good”.
Additionally, there is the risk that an increasing emphasis on getting inmates into work will lessen that on education, employment training and drug and alcohol addiction treatment programmes. This rehabilitation work was, commendably, at the forefront of Government policy announced last year.
Quite the contrary. The plan is part of that programme, as in fact the editorial them acknowledges:
A key part of this programme is providing greater support for prisoners to find jobs when they are released. Theoretically, that process should be aided by the Government’s work initiative.
So again we have an entire editorial that is at odds with the assertion in its title. It is bizarre.
Admirable idea falls down on numerous practicalities.
Yet they have not documented these. All they have done is say hey it may cost some money (no shit Sherlock), and you need to be careful of the impact on the labour market.
I never thought we’d see a newspaper argue against money being spent on giving prisoners training and tuition so they are more likely to gain employment when released.