Before indulging in any spontaneous decision making, Brits need to look into their own prison crisis.
Of all the fugitives from Indian law, the maximum number have chosen the UK as their place of refuge primarily because the British establishment and law courts have exhibited a marked reluctance to deport absconders to India citing the terrible conditions of prisons here. Well, perhaps it’s time for the Brits to look within before they indulge in any further unsolicited pontification. For, Britain’s own prison crisis is, it has emerged, one of staggering proportions. Understaffing, overcrowding, lack of funds and the rampant use of drugs and violence in UK prisons has left many unnerved. But the drug problem is by far the biggest and has made a mockery of the whole notion of doing time.
Zombie drugs such as ‘Spice’ have pushed many prisoners to the brink. This drug mimics psychoactive substances of cannabis but due to its harrowing effects has now made its entry into the same category as cocaine and heroin. These drugs have gained a strong foothold inside British prisons and has resulted in many jails becoming breeding grounds of squalor and violence. There has been a massive increase in the UK’s prison population and no other public institution has deteriorated as much as their prisons. According to the Howard League for Penal Reform, assaults on staff are up 40 per cent. UK Ministry of Justice figures show that in the 12 months to September 2017, 28,165 incidents were recorded (an increase in 12 per cent) over the previous 12 months and of these 7,828 were assaults on prison staff. During the last quarter of 2017, assaults rose to a staggering average of 86 a day and on average there were 24 physical attacks on officials each day. Rampant drug use too has aggravated unhealthy conditions amongst inmates. In a survey of a quarter of prisons in the UK, the National Offender Monitoring System in England and Wales stated that it had found obtaining drugs in custody was very easy. Under the influence of drugs, inmates are found to have indulged in sexual assault and violence not to mention bullying almost routinely. Given the above, perhaps Vijay Mallya and others like him may feel Indian prisons, for all their shortcomings, may not be as bad as British ones.
Courtesy: The Pioneer