The storm of criticism that greeted the UK Government’s new policy of stopping anyone sending books to prisoners has gone beyond writers and left-wing politicians to professionals in the prisons system. Now, in an interview with The Independent, the UK Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, has condemned the ban as “not sensible,” with individual prison governors best placed to decide what prisoners should and shouldn’t receive.
“The problem in this case… is trying to micro-manage this from the centre, with the centre describing very detailed lists of what prisoners can and can’t have,” he said in The Independent. “I think that’s a mistake. I think that once the policy intention is clear, how that’s implemented should be left much more to the discretion and the common sense of governors.”
UK writers protesting the ban include Alan Bennett, Sir Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, meanwhile, appears content for now to use the whole saga as a pretext for political point-scoring, calling the policy a move to bring “right wing solutions to bear on social problems where the Left has palpably failed.”