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Britain’s Best Little Prison

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So what?

Bob McColm was at pains to pick up on this point and was whinging on Manx Radio about it, all hurt and put upon. The staffing level is up to him, that's his job. He should have nothing to explain like this.

He misses the big question of why did he allow this production company inside the prison to make such a series in the first place?

He could have saved all this hassle. Unless he is rather enjoying the attention. He must have known what he was in for. He must have.

Edited by gettafa
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I still cringe at the irony of being told by the programme narrative and government that we have the lowest re-offending rates in Europe, yet the self-styled "Star" of the show is a multiple repeat offender and a self-proclaimed thug.

His recent defence (which then got his sentence reduced) was reported as, and I quote:

Goldsmith was shown on in the first episode of the television programme researching the law and reading Manx Criminal Law and Procedure, a book by former Deemster David Doyle.

Goldsmith argued there was no evidence that he used a weapon to wound his victim.

The attack, he said, was not sustained but an ’isolated incident’ of a few seconds involving only three blows and there was no premeditation. He argued the weight given to his previous offences of violence since 1996, which had resulted in sentences of up to three years’ custody, and his breaches of licence or bail conditions or binding over orders or suspended sentences in 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017 was disproportionate.

I rest my case, M'Lud.

Edited by Manx Bean
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2 hours ago, gettafa said:

So what?

Bob McColm was at pains to pick up on this point and was whinging on Manx Radio about it, all hurt and put upon. The staffing level is up to him, that's his job. He should have nothing to explain like this.

Well clearly he should explain because people are misunderstanding what the 1:1 ratio was about.  What you think about the level of staffing is another matter, but things need to be put in context and some people are clearly thinking that at any particular time there's an officer on duty for every prisoner.  Facts do matter.

There's another matter he didn't mention, which is the size of the prison, which is very small.  It's registered for 138 prisoners but usually only about 100 are there.  That makes it much smaller than any all-purpose UK prison, but it still has the 'overhead' of requiring certain roles to be filled and minimum staffing levels to be covered[1].  Of course it may also be prone to the usual Manx Civil Service admin bloat and large management team (I think 'Senior Practitioner' is the top probation guy), but you can't blame McColm for that.

Quote

He misses the big question of why did he allow this production company inside the prison to make such a series in the first place?

He could have saved all this hassle. Unless he is rather enjoying the attention. He must have known what he was in for. He must have.

Well someone made the point earlier in the topic that because the prison is run with public money, there is a sort of obligation to be open and accountable.  Of course whether that needs to extend beyond the Island is another matter, but that's the argument.

 

[1]  It's complicated by the fact you have to cover six different wings of the prison, so the women's wing for example has to be covered even if there is only a single female prisoner.

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6 hours ago, Andy Onchan said:

I'm still waiting to hear/read of the meaningful evidence-based statistics that tell us why Jurby Prison is the 'Best'.

It's not implausible.  'Softer' prison regimes in places like Scandinavia also tend to have lower rates of reoffending.  But you would think that some of those zillion of PR specialists who are employed in the Cabinet Office might have realised that there might be some media interest and local comment and have the facts ready and a media management strategy to cope with queries.  Instead it all seems to have been left to the Governor.  In which case what are all those other 'professionals' (not just the PR lot, but the others in DHA and CO who you expect to produce statistic whether there is media interest or not) there for exactly?

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For those who are wondering why Episode 2 wasn't as billed it was because that episode featured someone who has been hauled back inside so it can't be shown until his case is dealt with.

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1 hour ago, Roger Mexico said:

Well clearly he should explain because people are misunderstanding what the 1:1 ratio was about.  What you think about the level of staffing is another matter, but things need to be put in context and some people are clearly thinking that at any particular time there's an officer on duty for every prisoner.  Facts do matter.

There's another matter he didn't mention, which is the size of the prison, which is very small.  It's registered for 138 prisoners but usually only about 100 are there.  That makes it much smaller than any all-purpose UK prison, but it still has the 'overhead' of requiring certain roles to be filled and minimum staffing levels to be covered[1].  Of course it may also be prone to the usual Manx Civil Service admin bloat and large management team (I think 'Senior Practitioner' is the top probation guy), but you can't blame McColm for that.

Well someone made the point earlier in the topic that because the prison is run with public money, there is a sort of obligation to be open and accountable.  Of course whether that needs to extend beyond the Island is another matter, but that's the argument.

 

[1]  It's complicated by the fact you have to cover six different wings of the prison, so the women's wing for example has to be covered even if there is only a single female prisoner.

You're reinforcing my point. The prison debate can continue forever ad infinitum et nauseum until such time that the prison needs its very own Chris Thomas and a mini Cabinet Office to answer all the questions and tell them how they are wrong and...and...and...

Just don't have a fucking TV crew make a prime time gutter TV series. 

I simply don't see what they (you know who you are) think is to be gained by all this.

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1 hour ago, Roger Mexico said:

It's not implausible.  'Softer' prison regimes in places like Scandinavia also tend to have lower rates of reoffending.  But you would think that some of those zillion of PR specialists who are employed in the Cabinet Office might have realised that there might be some media interest and local comment and have the facts ready and a media management strategy to cope with queries.  Instead it all seems to have been left to the Governor.  In which case what are all those other 'professionals' (not just the PR lot, but the others in DHA and CO who you expect to produce statistic whether there is media interest or not) there for exactly?

Indeed Roger, especially when the Cabinet Office and Reform Minister are indignant that evidence-based statistics are what counts! :rolleyes:

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35 minutes ago, Andy Onchan said:

Indeed Roger, especially when the Cabinet Office and Reform Minister are indignant that evidence-based statistics are what counts! :rolleyes:

IOMG and "evidence-based statistics" - best oxymoron I've heard for years.

Cruise ship berth anyone...?

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3 hours ago, Manx Bean said:

I still cringe at the irony of being told by the programme narrative and government that we have the lowest re-offending rates in Europe, yet the self-styled "Star" of the show is a multiple repeat offender and a self-proclaimed thug.

His recent defence (which then got his sentence reduced) was reported as, and I quote:

Goldsmith was shown on in the first episode of the television programme researching the law and reading Manx Criminal Law and Procedure, a book by former Deemster David Doyle.

Goldsmith argued there was no evidence that he used a weapon to wound his victim.

The attack, he said, was not sustained but an ’isolated incident’ of a few seconds involving only three blows and there was no premeditation. He argued the weight given to his previous offences of violence since 1996, which had resulted in sentences of up to three years’ custody, and his breaches of licence or bail conditions or binding over orders or suspended sentences in 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017 was disproportionate.

I rest my case, M'Lud.

Well as I keep on pointing out, the problem is that the repeat offenders (with little to lose) are going to be the ones most likely to agree to appear in such a programme.  They're also going to be the sort of 'colourful' characters most likely to attract the attention of the programme makers.  Of course you could argue that this could have been foreseen and there should have been a way to deal with any criticism.

As to Goldsmith's appeal, I discussed it at some length in the other thread.  In practice his winning the reduction of six months made absolutely no difference to how long he stayed in prison.  The actual judgment itself has a bit of a docusoap feel as Goldsmith defended himself in a characteristic manner that let to some interesting exchanges with the Deemster in his (third) trial:

Quote

22. The trial Deemster did prevent the Appellant from cross-examining Mr Garvie on whether he had been drinking on the day of the trial (T1/page 102 line 21 – page 103 line 13):

"MR GOLDSMITH: Can I ask him if he's had a drink today Your Honour?

DEEMSTER: No. What's that got to do with going back to May of 2017? 

MR GOLDSMITH: He looks like he's had that's all I'm saying.

DEEMSTER: Sorry?

MR GOLDSMITH: He looks like he's had a drink today.

DEEMSTER: Well, it's for the jury ultimately to make any view.

MR GOLDSMITH: So I can't ask if he's had a drink today?

DEEMSTER: No.

MR GOLDSMITH: Why?

DEEMSTER: It's not relevant.

MR GOLDSMITH: Well if he's producing evidence in the Court while he's had a drink Your Honour I don't think that's respectful to the Court is it?

DEEMSTER: Well that's for me to deal with, it's not for you to ask.

MR GOLDSMITH: Okay then, I just think that's turning up to Court intoxicated.

DEEMSTER: Well that's up to me to deal with, isn't it?

MR GOLDSMITH: So I can't ask him?

DEEMSTER: You can't ask him that, no …"

It's meant to illustrate that the Deemster gave all necessary assistance to a litigant in person, but you can't help feeling that whoever wrote the judgment was rather enjoying himself.

Edited by Roger Mexico
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3 hours ago, Roger Mexico said:

It's not implausible.  'Softer' prison regimes in places like Scandinavia also tend to have lower rates of reoffending.  But you would think that some of those zillion of PR specialists who are employed in the Cabinet Office might have realised that there might be some media interest and local comment and have the facts ready and a media management strategy to cope with queries.  Instead it all seems to have been left to the Governor.  In which case what are all those other 'professionals' (not just the PR lot, but the others in DHA and CO who you expect to produce statistic whether there is media interest or not) there for exactly?

You’re assuming the statistics we have on our alleged low re offending rates is accurate. Having seen how many repeat offenders are featured in this show I have to say I’m highly skeptical as to whether we do actually have the claimed low rates. Probably more made up civil servant statistics to justify all the jobs. 

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5 hours ago, Andy Onchan said:

We'll see. If they ever publish verifiable statistics.

I've finally found some information.  The topic came up at the Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Justice Standing Committee this January when the Committee were quizzing Malarkey, the DHA CEO Dan Davies and Deputy CEO Julian Lalor-Smith

Quote

Q7. Mr Hooper: I am quite glad that you bring up data because another one of the objectives in the strategy[1] was to reduce reoffending rates. At the time this strategy was brought in in 2012, there was a serious lack of data around re-offending. There were some Tynwald Questions asked about it in 2015 at which the Department stated that it did not hold any information in respect of reoffending rates. I myself asked a Question in 2018 and was told exactly the same thing, that the Department does not hold any data in respect of reoffending rates. 

We are now at the start of 2019, and obviously this is six years after this strategy was launched with a key objective of reducing reoffending rates. So what data does the Department now hold on reoffending rates and how they have reduced since 2012 when the strategy was launched?

In response Davies blathered on:

Quote

Reoffending rates are really difficult to capture and the data is held in different places. So, for example, if you went into court for a low-level theft offence and then you returned to prison two or three years later for a far more serious offence of, say, violence, would that be reoffending?

To which the obvious reply is: "Well, duh!".  But of course there is no need to worry about what counts and what doesn't, because if you are going to compare your rates to those of England, then you use the same methodology as to what you include and what you don't.  They manage to produce extensive and regular statistics on the subject.

And it's not like it's particularly difficult to work out.  There will only be about 200 or so prisoners across a year (again it's difficult to get figures consistently).  It can't be that hard to look if whether they have reoffended.  It's true there is no one simple reoffending figure - obviously for example it will be different after two years than after one - but you can look at what the MoJ does and apply the same methods.

It's possible that McColm has actually done this - as I said it's not difficult if you've got access to the basic data and it's so few people maybe he could go down the list say: "Yes, No, No, No, Yes, Left Island...".  But for the Department to be so clueless and uninterested is pretty unforgivable.

 

[1]  This is the Isle of Man Criminal Justice Strategy that Watterson put forward in December 2012.  In it it said (p 16):

Quote

The Isle of Man has few statistics on reoffending rates, but the UK Ministry of Justice statistics show that prison has a poor record for reducing reoffending – 47% of adults are reconvicted within one year of being released – for those serving sentences of less than 12 months this increases to 57%. For those who have served more than 10 previous custodial sentences the rate of reoffending rises to 66%

Oddly the UK MoJ seems to have no problem working things out, but the Isle of Man does.

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Thanks Roger. Great work.

And so by extension DHA won't be able to verify if the restorative justice initiative has been a success or not?

It's a pretty appalling state of affairs that even basic data isn't available but I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

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2 hours ago, Andy Onchan said:

Thanks Roger. Great work.

And so by extension DHA won't be able to verify if the restorative justice initiative has been a success or not?

It's a pretty appalling state of affairs that even basic data isn't available but I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

The raw data is available. It’s just not been collated and analysed.

However it may be skewed by movements on, and off, the Island.

i was able to deal with reoffending rates when I did my thesis on Manx crime rates, including reoffending, in relation to the birch, 41 years ago.

I think that was the last time the exercise was done.

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Source:  CRIMINAL JUSTICE STRATEGY ISLE OF MAN Joined up Justice Better : Faster : Simpler : Cheaper

The Isle of Man has few statistics on reoffending rates, but the UK Ministry of Justice statistics1 show that prison has a poor record for reducing reoffending – 47% of adults are reconvicted within one year of being released – for those serving sentences of less than 12 months this increases to 57%. For those who have served more than 10 previous custodial sentences the rate of reoffending rises to 66%.

 

1 Table 18a, 19 and 7a, Ministry of Justice (2011) Proven Reoffending Statistics Quarterly Bulletin January to December 2009, London: Ministry of Justice

 

This document maybe out of date, and there has since been appointed a new minister and new CEO

 

Edited by gettafa

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