The Changing Face of Prison Discipline
Prison discipline was a significant battleground of prison policy and practice in the 1970s and 1980s. Prisoners and their advocates stressed the link between perceptions of unfairness in the disciplinary system and unrest in prisons. Reformers criticised the division of discipline hearings into those by governors and those by Boards of Visitors, arguing that involvement in discipline confused Boards’ roles in theory and their conduct of them undermined their effectiveness in practice. The courts became involved in reviewing and significantly reshaping the content of disciplinary procedures. Now that Woolf has recommended, and the Government has accepted, some of the main recommendations of the reformers, prison discipline may become less of an issue or may be entering a period of new questions in a new context.