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Drugs and violence are rife in our filthy, overcrowded prisons. Women and underage prisoners are treated badly by staff and other prisoners alike. Some 70% of prisoners suffer from a mental disorder, yet during their time in prison they are denied the services of the NHS; 65% of all adult prisoners have a reading age of less than eight; and over 50% of women prisoners have suffered sexual or physical abuse. The Victorian approach to the prison service was punitive rather than rehabilitating. Now that we understand that most prisoners are themselves victims of some sort, that out-dated attitude must change. Written with real passion and based on the author's extensive experience, PRISONGATE asks why we are allowing our prison service to collapse and calls in powerful polemic prose for fast and decisive change.
Sir David Ramsbotham, GCB CBE is an establishment figure and former Army general who was Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for five and a half years. Seeking prison reform, he was a thorn in the side of Jack Straw's government just when they thought he was going to be submissive.