Prison ships: Float your boat?

Prison hulks, the last of which the government sold in 2005 owing to lack of fresh air and lack of promotion of exercise, are the new in-thing for (half of the) Tories. The idea, said to be floated by that timely wonderboy Andy Coulson, or so some Conservatives are saying.

The Tories in support, seeing it as a way of to fulfill David Cameron’s statement on the shortage of prison space, want to raise dosh for the so-called nautical nicks. But appointing places for such an arrangement will be met with much antagonism, especially or those places said to be fit for the hulks. Tilbury, in Essex, is said to be one of those target places. Labour councillor Carl Morris, who is hoping to replace Andrew Mackinlay, noted that “We successfully fought these stupid ideas in both 2004 and 2006. In the first instance I think the ship was even brought to the Thames but never used.”

Frances Crook of the The Howard League  for Penal Reform, noted that Alan Duncan spoke at a seminar in Oxford last week floating (!) rather “colourful” language about what the Tories will do about overcrowding etc., but urged readers of her blog not to conflate this with support from the front bench.

The prison boat “practice was popular with the British government in the 18th and 19th centuries” and we were evidently good at sinking Nazi prisoner boats, but as for investing once again, I’m not convinced.

Another vague notice is the “target” areas that will have prisons closed in order to fund the boats. Where they? Personally, I don’t think Cam will have it, and the idea is supposed to be one of many just being thrown out there, probably just hype. I might not even write a blog post about it.


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