chapter  7
The 1980s: Crises and committees
Pages 22

Prison policy during the 1980s presents a rather bleak picture. While the concerns around ‘subversive’ prisoners faded from view somewhat, prison numbers continued to rise, with year-on-year increases becoming significant. In addition, disquiet about drug use within prisons and the presence of prisoners with the HIV virus led to a climate of increased anxiety and fear within penal administration. Conditions in the prisons became severely overcrowded and as the decade went on an increased number of deaths in custody occurred. The material provision of accommodation was poor, and to cope with the large increases in population doubling up in cells became prevalent and the use of unsupervised temporary release, termed ‘shedding’, became widespread. This was the subject of vociferous criticism.