Thursday, 8 October 2009

No Manx justice, just this mess

At long last someone is taking a proper look at our rotten island prison. Sadly, still not the Department of Home Affairs.
Positive Action Group brought over a speaker from the Howard League recently. Predictably he wasn’t impressed at a set-up which involved handing far too much public money over to a bunch of cowboy contractors for a jerry-built slum. He was even less impressed at a justice system which fills 40% of said overpriced slum with folk who haven’t even been to court yet – and that’s only judging from official figures!
You can read about that at And then one of the few local advocates interested in justice had his say at
All in all, not very impressive, and that isn’t even half the story. For example, can anyone explain why the only folk arrested to get bail are those prepared to sit through a daily prayer meeting at the island’s only bail hostel? In short, if you’re of any religious persuasion except an evangelical Christian one, or have no interest in the supernatural, bail is not available. Neither is a balanced probation report when or if you finally get to court.
And it gets worse. At some point a story will appear in the local press, probably under a byline, which suggests our youth justice system has impressed the experts.
It hasn’t, and if you want the untainted original DHA press release (written by a moonlighting Johnston Press hack if their previous stuff is any guide) you can find it at
Cut through the gloss and spin at the beginning and go straight to the bad news tucked away ‘incidentally’ towards the end.
What the inspectors actually said was that our youth justice system is run by a bunch of unco-ordinated amateurs and doesn’t work. In effect, what they were saying is it’s time the island actually got a youth justice system.

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