LETTERS: Lessons on prison policy

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The Independent Online
From Mrs Rachel Palmer

Sir: Professor Justin Brooks (letter, 29 December) must be right to warn of the dangers of following the US model of prisons and to call for clear, humane and pragmatic policies here in UK.

Twenty years ago, working for a time with the prison service in Hong Kong, I was amazed to find the inmates of prisons unlocked all day and engaged in full-time work obtained by the service. This was in sharp contrast to the situation in prisons in the UK.

We, at Holloway, have had a pilot project for more than two years with Reed Employment that provides meaningful paid activity for the women, and the chance for them to learn and develop skills; yet for much of this year facilities have lain idle because there were no officers available to run a regime.

Perhaps we have more to learn from the East?

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Palmer

London, W14

28 December

The writer is chairman of the board of visitors at Holloway women's prison.