chapter  5
24 Pages

Grendon Underwood. A psychotherapeutic prison

The British Prison Service mission statement has two parts: first, to "keep in custody those committed by the courts"; second, to "look after them with humanity and help them to lead more law-abiding lives after release". Tradi­ tionally, this mission statement is interpreted as capturing two conflicting aims of the imprisonment: the task of security and custody and that of rehabilitation. In terms of political policy, there is a pendulum-like swing between the emphasis on these two tasks. The collapse of the rehabilitative ideal in the late 1970s led to more custodial regimes and was arguably a con­ tributory factor to riots in the 1980s. The importance of rehabili­ tation was re-emphasized by Lord Justice Woolf's report on the Strangeways riots, which was followed by important develop­ ments in sentence planning and the management of prisoners serving life sentences. Following the Whitemoor escapes, the pendulum swung back with the Woodcock and Learmont re­ ports, and security and the prevention of escapes became the most important task.