Letter: Inside story

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The Independent Culture
Sir: On a visit to a jail last week, one of my Prison Reform Trust colleagues was given three reasons why a minority of prisoners are declining the opportunity of early release subject to electronic monitoring ("Inmates prefer prison to tagging", 27 January).

The first category consists of those who simply prefer to cock a snook at the authorities: if the prison service wants to let me out, it must be in my interests to stay where I am.

More positively, there are some prisoners who have declined early release on the grounds that they have not yet completed rehabilitation courses and feel that their long-term resettlement could be put in jeopardy.

The third category is less positive. Prisoners know that those recalled from home detention curfew will be debarred from the scheme on all future sentences. Those who believe they are certain to breach their licence are "saving up" their entitlement until the weather is better later in the year.

STEPHEN SHAW

Director, Prison Reform Trust

London EC1

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