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Shocking spike in Covid-19 jail suicides should end Britain’s obsession with imprisonment

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Britain’s justice system, like many of its prisons, is stuck in Victorian times. And recently there’s been a proliferation of the 'throw away the key' mantra.

HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow is so cramped that its one-man cells have two prisoners squeezed in. It’s also using holding cells that were condemned 25 years ago and breach human rights.

The Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) found it was operating at 120 percent of capacity back in 2014. Yet by 2019, that had risen to 140 percent. The chief inspector of prisons, Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, said: “The reality is that the ageing and fragile physical infrastructure means that the prison is no longer fit for purpose.”

The CPT investigated other UK prisons – Doncaster, Liverpool and Wormwood Scrubs – in the UK last year, along with some young offender institutions. And it wasn’t good news.

Their official findings concluded that the prison system was “in deep crisis” and that the sites they visited were "violent, unsafe and overcrowded.”

A simple but disturbing fact is that in England and Wales, the prison population has doubled since 1990.

Meanwhile, Scotland has the highest prison population rate in Western Europe (150 per 100,000).

Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "These figures show the scale of the challenge that we face in........

© RT.com