YEP Letters: March 24

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When will we get rail improvements?

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

Early in the new year we had front page news in the YEP regarding the investment by Northern Trains in new trains for 2018.

Only a month later we learned that it is going to be nearer 2019 before we get the first of these trains.

On March 22 we learn that the May timetable changes to increase the number of services on some routes will now not happen.

Every six months or so for the past decade the YEP has had its front page emblazened with news of major improvements in the railways that “Northern” are going to implement. So far not a single one of these has come to fruition.

I think there is a greater likelihood of a pig flying past my window!

Report into ‘overcrowded’ Leeds prison

A worrying picture of high violence levels and “easy” drug supplies at Leeds prison has emerged from a new report as it was branded “one of the most seriously overcrowded in the country”. Inspectors found levels of violence of all kinds were far too high at HMP Leeds where 91 per cent of cells were holding more inmates than they were designed for. There were four self-inflicted deaths at the prison since it was last inspected in 2015 while another occurred during the latest visit in October and November. HM Inspectorate of Prisons also found that in a survey 63 per cent of prisoners said it was easy to get illicit drugs in the establishment. We asked YEP readers for their views and here’s what some of them said on social media..

Joy Carole Archer

HMP Leeds is a remand prison. Some of its inmates haven’t been convicted at all. It’s also a prison many return to for the final weeks of their sentence, meaning that many of the work activities are simply monotonous containment exercises.

There are already stringent drug searches in place and there are many, many ways in which drugs enter prisons. Passing between visitors and inmates is the very least of the problems to be addressed unfortunately.

Denise Vause

How do drugs get into a prison? Perhaps partitions between visitor and prisoner is the way to go.

Geoff Woodhead

The human body and mind are built to work hard. Not all in prison are gangsters. 
Get them working hard like we do. No energy left when they finish.

Deb Tetley

Three meals a day and a clean bed. Shame the same amount of money can’t be spent on the homeless or people in care homes. They’re not in there for being model citizens are they?

Simon Freddie George Harris

The whole reason the Victorians built Armley Gaol making it look so sinister in the distance was to deliberately make it look like a place you never want to enter. That’s the whole point.

Dean Baron

You go to jail as your punishment, not for your punishment. The punishment is being kept from your loved ones and having no freedom. It’s not about being punished once you’re in there.

James Evans

What do they expect? Five star?

Brian Taylor

All prisons should be run on work for food programmes and should include chain gang work outside.

John Blair

If they were let out to work the same people saying chain gangs like in the USA would be crying about them being out of the prison, especially when they were escaping as the private security companies can’t run the prisons never mind staff a road gang.

Natalie-Asha Comrie

These prisoners for the most part will be released to communities so why anybody thinks it’s good that they come out without having had any rehabilitation or support to prevent them offending again is beyond me. Should it be nice? No. But letting them out angry mad at society and bitter is not smart either. Damaged people damage people.

Caring for the RAF family

Hugh Trenchard, 3rd Viscount of Trenchard of Wolfeton DL, Deputy Chairman, RAF Benevolent Fund

My grandfather, Hugh Trenchard, the first Viscount Trenchard, often called the Founder of the RAF became its first Chief of the Air Staff on its formation on April 1 1918.

The centenary of the RAF is a chance for the nation to reconnect with the airmen and airwomen who defended this country in its most perilous moments, to honour their dedication, commitment and bravery and to reflect on how these qualities endure in the RAF today. Particularly in light of the recent loss of an airman at RAF Valley.

In an appeal on behalf of the Fund in 1951, Winston Churchill reminded the nation of ‘the debt we owe’ to those who served in the RAF during the Second World War. On this 100th anniversary, it is wonderful to see the nation come together once again to acknowledge the debt we owe today, just like our forebears did all those years ago.

Right from the start, my grandfather believed that there is a responsibility to care for members of the RAF Family who are in need. And so in 1919, he set up a small fund to provide welfare assistance – the RAF Benevolent Fund which would sit at the heart of the RAF Family. That role has not changed in 99 years and the Fund continues to stand side by side with the RAF. From its modest beginnings in 1919, the Fund has grown to become the leading welfare charity for the RAF, assisting 55,000 family members in 2017.

The RAF has always had an extraordinarily strong feeling of pride and loyalty – espirit de corps – and with that pride may come a reluctance to ask for help. If you are (or know of) a serving or veteran member of the RAF Family going through a difficult time, I encourage you to get in touch with the RAF Benevolent Fund; this applies to partners and dependent children also.

Please know that the RAF Benevolent Fund and its supporters are here for you, always. Please call 0800 169 2942 or email welfareservices@rafbf.org.uk

Get in touch

The YEP wants to hear your views. Send your letters to yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk

The leader of Leeds Council, Councillor Judith Blake plants the first tree in Gargrave as part of a pilot scheme to protect Leeds from flooding through natural management.

YEP Letters: March 23