‘The purpose of the training and treatment of convicted prisoners shall be to encourage and assist them to lead a good and useful life.’
That use of the phase ‘useful life’ is not, cannot and must not be limited to post release. It must include also the life whilst one is awaiting release. In many ways the life awaiting release is the content of a sandwich! It’s found in the middle between two pieces of bread. If you are lucky you may even find the bread has been buttered.
The Human Rights Act 1998 is a statute and as such must be adhered to by those who administer the law.
Art. II (2) of the Human Rights Act 1998 states:
‘Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.’
The National Union of Prisoners UK is founded upon statute and as such must be used only for ‘the protection of his interests.’ In this politically correct era the Parliamentary draughts men should have used the word ‘their’ instead of the male ‘his’. It shows how easy one can err.
The Human Rights Act 1998 Art. II (2) further states:
To the best of knowledge no act of parliament has been passed to date precluding a Union of Prisoners.
The Charter, that is drafted, is one that is not only fully compliant with the law but one that when followed, adhered and applied, supplements and compliments both The Prison Act 1952 and The Prison Rules 1999 and subsequent amendments.
Never must the Union ever be party to subversive activities or as a tool to entrance, or encourage, the smooth running and good order and discipline of any penal establishment.
It must only be used for the purpose of protecting the prisoner in the rights that the prisoner maintains. Prison is used ‘as a’ punishment and not ‘for’ punishment.
The right to work, the right to practice ones religion, the right to healthcare, the right to vote, the right to education, the right to marry, the right to maintain contact with family and many others are vital to peaceful existence. To feel part of society
The aim of the National Union of Prisoners UK is to ensure those and other rights are promoted, respected, and maintained, using lawful means only. The National Union of Prisoners UK aims to introduce national television, radio, newspaper and to promote responsible use of media. It will seek to have a ‘Union Office’ in every single penal establishment in the United Kingdom and employ those currently convicted to office.
As any other lawful Union it can be accredited to the National, European and even International bodies that promote the Trade Union Movement.
This form of integration is vital for any form of possible rehabilitation.
Potentially over 100,000 members can be enlisted but only on a voluntary basis. Union dues can be levied in no different a manner as for example ‘victim support’ and can even be drafted into legislation. If a prisoner can pay £1 per week for television, perhaps 50p can be levied on Union dues! That will be for discussion.
The aim of prison is not to educate but to re-educate. An environment is set to ensure the best possible results.
In the past 50 years life in prison has radically changed. The Government is determinedly set on fighting Europe over the right to vote for prisoners. It has occupied many parliamentary hours yet more citizens’ vote for the X-factor, Big Brother and other reality shows, than in a National Election.
The National Union of Prisoners UK will be the window of opportunity to a re-education because for the first time the person who is targeted for re-education has a real say not individually but as a collective voice.
The funds or dues collected can even be used to initiate the deficiencies of the Legal Aid system. Many Unions readily engage and pay for lawyers in disputes. Many Tribunals and Grievance Procedures only allow a fellow ‘union member’ to be present at any disciplinary hearings.
Unions are an important factor, in life whether we are Left or Right Wing political ideologists. It is such an important movement that those who re-built Europe included it into their European Convention of Human Rights.
Giovanni Di Stefano