AS a long-serving member of Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) at three prisons in the South West of England I can assure Mr Yates (letters, October 6) that prisoners are not treated like hotel guests.
The courts send offenders to prison and loss of liberty is their punishment. Prisons are not there for punishment but to keep the public safe, address offending behaviour and prepare the majority of offenders for eventual release.
IMB members are required by the Secretary of State for Justice to satisfy themselves about the humane and just treatment of those in custody. This includes ensuring that the food served meets required standards. Yes, the food is hot and nourishing but with limited budgets menus are fairly basic. Food certainly isn’t cordon bleu standard.
How would Mr Yates like being locked up for many hours each day and have to eat his meal in a small, poorly ventilated cell sitting next to a WC?
Following good behaviour some prisoners do earn the right to have a TV in their cell but this is not automatic and poor behaviour means that the TV is taken from them.
I can assure Mr Yates that prisons are not the soft and pleasant places he believes they are.
If any of your readers are interested in the work of IMBs more information can be found on
Arthur Williams
Marden Walk