We’re all too familiar with the revolving door to prison. Now it seems that prison culture is to be reformed from the top, with governors of new-style establishments given ‘unprecedented’ freedom to introduce education, work and rehabilitation services. Former prison governor John Podmore is entirely behind the need to mend a broken system and address prisoners’ needs for work, education and training – as he says in our latest issue, ‘you need a prisoner group that has some investment is what’s going on.’
Mike Ashton adds the evidence by showing through Bruce Alexander’s famous Rat Park experiment that a stimulating social and physical environment can draw the subject away from addiction and into being a productive member of society. The parallels are all too clear in our cover story, where Steve Hodgkins shares his inspiring venture, setting up Jobs, Friends and Houses (JFH). The results of his project speak for themselves – and prove that a prison sentence need not be a badge for life.