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Letter: The need for real prison reform

Sir: I write as one of the many prisoners who will have read with dismay Nick Cohen's article 'Reform goes out of the window' (26 August).

How Mr Cohen can suggest, after years of Prison Officers' Association domination having brought our prisons to the abysmally degenerate state they are in, that privatisation kills any hope of improving conditions is beyond belief.

Although, as Kenneth Clarke is quoted as saying, 'there are no votes in prisons' and 'most electors do not give a damn about it', I feel sure that most taxpayers would rather see their money put to good use by the private sector than continue to be wasted due to the POA's restrictive practices and greed.

If only a fraction of POA members had put their minds to doing a fair day's work in co-operation with the Government's attempt to liberalise and improve prison regimes over the past few years, many of the recent problems would not have occurred.

The public sector has proved beyond doubt it cannot successfully manage or run the prison services. Please give the private sector a chance.

Yours sincerely,


HM Prison Ranby

Retford, Nottinghamshire

26 August