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Archive for the category “News & Current Affairs”

Funding for Mentoring Prisoners in Scotland

Scottish government will provide funding for prison leavers to get one-to-one mentoring, improving their chances of rehabilitation. £3.4 million have been allocated to fund four programmes in Scottish prisoners.

Support and guidance will be offered before and after the individual leaves prison, helping them be better prepared for the life on the outside. Some of the trained mentors employed by these projects have their own experience of imprisonment, which gives them a first-hand understanding of the challenges that prison leavers face.

Such schemes can make a big difference to those who have little support on the outside of the prison system, and can significantly reduce the risk of re-offending.

You can find further information on the BBC webpage here:


Innocent man re-building his life after 20 years in jail

Frankie Carillo was falsely convicted of murder when he was just 16. Twenty years later, the eyewitnesses admitted that they had lied. Now Frankie is making a new life for himself, has become a student and is beginning to develop a relationship with his son who was just a baby when his father was wrongly convicted.

See a video of Frankie talking about re-building his life on the BBC website.



43,000 strip searches of children

Freedom of Information request revealed that despite promises by the Youth Justice Board to stop routine strip-searching of children in young offender institutions and other secure settings, more than 43,000 took place over the last 21 months in England and Wales, some on children as young as 12, with 48% of those strip searched coming from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Chief inspector’s concerns over Winchester prison

The Chief Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales, Nick Hardwick, found that HM Prison Winchester is overcrowded and has unacceptable levels of violence. 10% of prisoners reported that they developed a drug problem in jail.

Read the summary of his findings on The Guardian website here, or the full report here.

Young servicemen at high risk of violence

A recent study of 14 000 armed forces personnel in the UK returning from Afghanistan and Iraq Over suggests that 20% of the young servicemen under 30 had gone on to commit a violent offence after coming home, compared with 6.7% of young men outside the military, with PTSD and alcohol being major factors.

Read the full article on the BBC website

Mentors for prisoners

In an effort to cut re-offending the UK government plans to extend a mentoring programme to prisoners serving short sentences. Typically, prisoners serving less than 12 months have fewer opportunities for support and rehabilitation, and it’s hoped that mentoring could help redress the balance. One of the challenges is that the mentors, who are often ex-offenders themselves, have a difficulty in getting inside prisons because of the strict security rules.

Read the full article on the BBC website.

China phasing out prisoner organ harvesting

Last week Chinese health officials have been quoted as saying that the use of organs from executed prisoners for transplants will be gradually phased out over the next five years.

China carries out the largest number of prisoner executions every year of any country in the world – the actual figures are not known but Amnesty International estimates that they far exceed the number of prisoners executed by all other countries put together.

Voluntary organ donations are currently scarce in China for cultural and religious reasons, and a huge number of people are waiting for transplants. Chinese officials have said that death row prisoners volunteer to give their organs but human rights groups believe that prisoners are pressurised into agreeing to this.

Escape of a woman on death row foiled

Two men, including a former prison staff member at Tennessee Prison for Women, were charged yesterday for the alleged escape plot of Christa Gail Pike, 36.

Pike was sentenced to death by electrocution in 1996, for the murder of a fellow student, Colleen Slemmer, who she suspected of trying to steal her boyfriend. She was 18 at the time of murder and 20 at the time of conviction.

Justin Heflin, 23, a correctional officer at the prison, Heflin, was arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and charged with bribery, conspiracy to commit escape and facilitation to commit escape. Donald Kohut, 34, an acquaintance of the killer who frequently visited her, was arrested and charged by New Jersey State Police with bribery and conspiracy to commit escape.

Christa Gail Pike is the only woman currently on death row in Tennessee. During her time in prison she was also charged with attemted murder for strangling a fellow inmate with a shoelace in 2001.

As of December 31, 2011 there were 58 women on death row in the Us. This constitutes 1.8% of the total death row population of about 3,250. In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S, including 12 since 1976.


Death Penalty Information Centre

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