Steve Dagworthy, Senior Consultant at Prison Consultants discusses prisoner rehabilitation system, with particular reference to the Worboys case on Sky News.
Transcript of the interview.
Well let’s talk to Steve Dagworthy, former prison, now Senior consultant at Prison Consultants, always good to see you see Steve.
This on the surface is very disturbing if there is a system in place, a rehabilitation system, which is found to be completely flawed.
Well yes, I mean in the case of Warboys the the sex offender treatment programme that was employed for sex offenders within prison has been proven actually to be not effective to the point its actually increased criminal activity, and I think the reason for that is because you get a collection of people in a group therapy session, probably thinking individually that they have a problem, but when they actually get into the therapy session start mixing with other people, who have the same needs, wants, desires, they realise that actually their quite normal and even worse they are creating a few more contacts perhaps for when they are released.
So if part of the problem is the group sessions, so you’re saying what, you need more one to one, which so presumably is going to cost a lot more money.
Yes, it’s cost-effective, yes you need one to ones, especially offences such as this, where there is extreme violence or sex offences in process, you need to go, Yes I think you need to go a bit more deeply psychologically into into the causes and the whys and wherefores of why this person should reoffend. But the cost, if you think about the costs of all of this. The cost of keeping someone in prison is somewhere in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 … the cost to society for reoffending in general, in the wider picture is £15 billion a year, so they say, so it has to be cost effective to have a one to one intervention and get to the deep root of the psychological problem.
But that again focuses on, even to get to that point we’re talking more resources, to begin with at least. Do you think?
My theory is quite simple… prison, simply doesn’t work. You know, we have to have a rethink on prison. And I think there are the resources within the prison system, whereas we can think of other ways in which to punish people.
Perhaps start to release people who are safe to be released back into the community. Therefore the resources that we have with the prison system are employed to help those that need the rehabilitation process. There are too many people in prison at the moment, to be frank, who don’t need to be in the rehabilitation system.
As far as that system goes, I mean in the John Worboys case, if the Parole board have turned around and after whatever examinations they’ve carried out said actually this is a man who is safe to be released.
Well, we have to have faith in the parole system. It is the system we have. After the eight or nine years he has served in prison he’s gone above his minimum recommended tariff. The parole board, for all of their reports and mechanisms that they have to hand, they have to have to have decided that this guy is safe to be in the community but I’m sure under an enormous amount of strict licence conditions and make no mistake if he breaches one of those conditions he will be straight back to prison.
But, as someone who’s been through the system do you think decisions like this, especially as it’s such a controversial person with, you know, such a litany of crimes behind them….Should those decisions be made public so we understand what the process of parole board has been through actually is?
Well what we are talking about data protection now aren’t we, so I think we have to possibly have faith in the system that we have, or perhaps change the system, but whether we can whether we can allow the public to intervene in the minutiae of the case perhaps is possibly not a good idea, because then you’re going to have factions across the country, basically deciding who is who cannot be released from prison which …I guess will not work.
ok Steve really good to talk to you thank you very much.