New governor’s plan will divide opinion.
AS the new governor at Armley jail, Susan Kennedy rightly wants to bring some fresh ideas to the table.
One of the most eye-catching is her suggestion that inmates could be given jobs as bin men to help them readjust to life on the outside.
Currently under consideration by the council, the thinking behind the proposal is clear.
Despite a recent dip, reoffending rates among ex-convicts are still too high for comfort – not least as the costs to the taxpayer of failing to keep people out of jail are considerable.
The Ministry of Justice estimates that nationally the bill runs as high as £10bn.
It’s why there is now a renewed drive to tackle the problem – along with the fact that the Government is moving towards paying prisons by results on this front.
While some will feel it’s right that prisoners should do unpaid manual labour, the fact that refuse collection would involve having access to properties means many may feel uneasy about the idea.
Certainly there is a trust issue at stake and it would be vitally important that adequate safeguards were put in place.
Nevertheless, if efforts to keep individuals from returning to prison are to be successful then it’s essential they have a chance to turn over a new leaf.
If schemes such as this can play their part then perhaps they should be given a cautious welcome.
Time to nail colours to mast for heart unit
THE future of the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Unit is a cause close to all our hearts.
So there should be plenty of support for the call to wear red on February 7 to show our backing for the group that helps fund its incredible work.
The idea is that schools and firms across Yorkshire don red for the day in return for a small contribution to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund charity.
It’s the second annual Wear Red Day – last year’s event raised money to support the successful campaign to overturn a decision to end children’s heart surgery in Leeds.
Let’s hope this one is just as big a hit.