prison food control landworks 1024x707 - Prisoner Training & Placements


A few years ago, as a responsible parent, I thought it a good idea that my daughter (Lilly, 9 yrs) should listen to the Sex Pistols (at some volume). I wondered what her response would be?

As the opening chords exploded, she let out an involuntary whoop and rocketed upwards from the settee doing a sort of crazed star jump mid-air…Wow!

Genetic (‘that’s my girl’ type thing) or her environment?

Johnny Rotten sang of no future, resisting the system, and social alienation from the mainstream.

The prison system accomplishes this remarkably well. The moment you arrive in jail the process starts. Your environment changes dramatically. You are a number, practically all of your responsibilities are removed. You have little left that you can be responsible for.

Reduced to an immature existence.

And, like a child, food can be the one thing you have some control over; eat it or make a fuss etc.

From time to time at LandWorks we see evidence of just how powerful food and eating can be. Not just a dislike or a dietary requirement but…

An adult doing a full-on twos and threes tantrum…where there is resistance there is power?

For example, during the very first week (2013) a plate was pushed away, and a young man stood up, leaving the porta cabin, shouting, “I don’t do carrots!’

For a while, we had one man who would sit with his back to everyone as we continued to eat. The same man, in his fifties, didn’t actually want or like the pudding but insisted (at the point of losing control) that his portion was placed in Tupperware and preserved (never to be eaten).

More recently, another fifty-year old had a tizzy fit because we were all using a smaller dinner plate than normal. And yesterday a 25-year-old just refused to eat at all.

Her Majesty’s Prison Service state at the Jail entrance:

“We keep those sentenced to prison in custody, helping them lead law-abiding and useful lives, both while they are in prison and after they are released.”

We need to rethink how we treat people in prison and what a helpful environment could look like.
Because there are now so many indicators that suggest the custodial environment and ultimately rehabilitation today is not working.

In 1976 Johnny sang, “There’s no point in asking, you’ll get no reply.”

But, until the current prison environment changes, the above HMP statement should be questioned.

Lilly returned to the settee and her (then) boyband of choice ‘Busted’.

I’m quite sure that can’t be genetic.





We are looking for some feedback about the blog. I wondered if there are topics you would like to hear more (or less) about?

Perhaps more weekly diaries?
More (or perhaps less) prison/probation issues?
More blogs from people on placement here (PeN interviews)?
Blogs from other contributors?
Anything else?

Suggestions very welcome (please just reply to this blog post)