Friday, 13 September 2019

TV Alert

Oh, look what's coming and starts on Monday at 9pm:-

Crime and Punishment looks at the criminal justice system from top to toe. The results are not always pretty

Channel 4‘s Crime and Punishment is a hard-hitting documentary series exploring every area of the criminal justice system from both sides of the law.

Filmed over two years, it follows the work of police, probation, prison, prosecution and parole as all the limbs of the criminal justice system manage risks to the public using limited resources, while also dealing with offenders who can’t seem to escape the system.

This first episode shines a light on the 3,000-plus prisoners who are serving IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) sentences. Even though IPP was abolished in 2012, these prisoners still don’t know when or if they’ll be released.


  1. Hope it's objective and dosen't seek to sensationalise any specific aspect. Hope too it includes some sort of longitudinal observations on how the CJS has come to the space it now occupies, and how its been shaped political interference, not to improve the CJS but for political gain, vote winning and point scoring.
    The IPP sentence has been a disaster, an American import as attractive as cholinated chicken, and although no longer in use (like preventative detention) it will remain a serious issue for the CJS for decades to come.
    It's quite ironic I think that so shortly after Boris spent a week getting tough on crime again, he himself finds himself in trouble with the courts, and threatening to break or circumnavigation the law.
    Strange times!


    1. Nearly 30 years after the biggest riot in British penal history, this film brings together the ringleaders of the trouble with the prison guards they battled with over three weeks of anarchy that brought Strangeways to its knees.

      The events are told through unparalleled access to the people at the heart of the riot, including the governor Brendan O'Friel, who was faced with the task of trying to regain control of his prison.

      Former prisoners describe the explosion of violence that erupted on 1 April 1990, when 1,600 angry inmates escaped from their cells and ran amok through the prison. Many were seeking revenge and reform for what they saw as years of suffering under an archaic and sometimes brutal regime in the overcrowded Victorian prison.

      In the bloody mayhem that followed, prison officers describe fearing for their lives as they were driven out of the building, leaving prisoners to settle scores and hunt down sex offenders, showing no mercy whilst the prison burned around them.

      Candid testimony from ex-inmates, prison officers and the governor himself creates a compelling story of the struggle for power between the authorities and the hardcore prisoners who ultimately took their protest onto the prison roof. The stand-off that followed is documented until the final moments, when the siege was ended in a dramatic takedown in front of rolling news cameras.

      17 Days left to watch.


    1. The IfG report is right-leaning & pro-outsourcing, but does offer this olive branch to doubters:

      "Probation is an exception: outsourcing has failed on every measure, harming ex-offenders trying to rebuild their lives. The heavy costs show why government should be cautious about extending outsourcing of front-line services and only do so when it is confident it will work...

      ... The outsourcing of probation services shows how outsourcing without a well-functioning market contributes to poor service performance. While some probation service providers had provided specific interventions, the full management of offenders had not been outsourced before in the UK, or anywhere else using the model the UK adopted.

      At the time, the Institute for Government and others warned that the absence of capable suppliers, combined with the difficulty of contracting probation services, made outsourcing a poor choice. Interviewees told us that major outsourcing companies issued similar warnings – and late in the procurement process the department struggled to ensure that it had enough bidders for contracts in some regions and had to approach suppliers directly to encourage them to step forward.

      By requiring that organisations bidding to be one of the ‘prime contractors’ had a ‘parent company guarantee’ – effectively taking on financial risk – the department excluded voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises with experience in this area from bidding to become prime contractors.

      Many of the companies that won contracts had minimal prior experience, which in some cases contributed to the widespread failures to provide a quality service."