How violent are our jails?

19 October 2019

9:00 AM

19 October 2019

9:00 AM

Parliamentary days

Could one of parliament’s longest sessions be followed by one of its shortest?
— The shortest was between 14 September and 25 October 1948, when Clement Attlee’s government prorogued parliament in order to forestall efforts by the House of Lords to frustrate the Parliament Bill. The ruse was successful and the bill, which limited the ability of the House of Lords to delay legislation, became law the following year. While it lasted six weeks, there were only ten sitting days in that parliament.
— This week we may have six days, including the highly unusual Saturday sitting. So, unless parliament is prorogued for a general election before next Friday, this session will have sat as long as that of 1948.

Frequent fliers

A report for the Committee on Climate Change called for an end to airlines’ frequent flyer programmes, saying they give passengers an incentive to fly more than they need to.
— The committee wouldn’t approve of Tom Stuker, a trainer of car salesmen from New Jersey, who in 2017 was claimed to be the world’s most-frequent flyer. On his first flight in 1970 his plane hit turbulence and dropped 500ft.
— Since then he has flown more than 21 million miles (the equivalent of 843 times around the world).
— Stuker has never been in a plane accident, although three passengers have died on flights he was on.

Jail violence

Richard Huckle, given 22 life sentences for abusing children in Malaysia, was reported to have been murdered at Full Sutton prison in the East Riding of Yorkshire. How violent are our jails?
— In the 12 months to June, there were 309 deaths in custody. Some 86 were classified as self-inflicted, 165 as being from natural causes and 55 as ‘other’, awaiting further investigation.
— There were 34,425 assaults, 3,949 of which were recorded as serious. There were 10,311 assaults on staff.
Source: Ministry of Justice

Portugal’s example

The SNP voted to back decriminalisation of drug possession and consumption, with some quoting the example of Portugal, where such offences were decriminalised in 2001 and which has since recorded a fall in some consumption. While not attracting criminal sanctions, drug users in Portugal can be fined, given curfews, have their passport confiscated and be put on probation.

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