Please note not all views expressed in the film and on the blog necessarily reflect the views of coalition members.
The self-fulfilling prophesy that's doubled our prison population,
demonised our young and costs us billions...
Welcome to the Fear Factory

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Fear Factory – the work continues

All may have gone quiet on the blog but we’ve been very busy behind the scenes. On the strength of the film, almost 50 national organisations joining the coalition, fantastic press and unprecedented support from key stakeholders, the Nationwide Foundation have very kindly agreed to fund the future work of The Fear Factory as we campaign for:

A cross-party commitment to creating and implementing an effective, long term Criminal Justice strategy based on evidence.

An "Amnesty" on the "arms race" - ending policies driven by short-term political gain, media sensationalism and "tough-talk".

Britain has one of the highest incarceration rates in Western Europe and though supposedly only used as a last resort and to house those most dangerous offenders, the UK incarcerates more children than most other western countries – currently over 2,500 children are in jail.

As the media decries the youth of today and the spectre of ‘broken Britain’ raises it’s ugly head, politicians knee-jerk to each story of violent youth, conveniently ignoring that at the heart of the issue are some of the most vulnerable children and young people who have been failed by social services and failed by us.

Conditions in custody are regularly criticised by independent inspectors, including the over-use of physical force and deliberate infliction of pain, strip-searching and segregation. The majority of young people are criminalised for minor and petty offences, but set on the trajectory to crime by the system itself. Growing up under these conditions it is no surprise that the re-offending rate is well over 75%. The system isn’t working, and at £170,000 for each new prison place it is a very expensive way of ensuring our young people become more damaged thereby opening society up to a very real risk of crime.

30% of children in custody have been in care, three quarters of the prison population suffer from at least two diagnosable mental health disorders and learning disabilities and difficulties are rife. In 1910 the then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill said that the civilisation of a society can be judged by the way it treats its prisoners. When those prisoners are our children and prison takes the place of a failing social services, it is imperative that society takes a serious look at the legacy we are building before it’s too late and Britain ‘grows’ the largest adult prison population in Europe.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, the DVD is available for purchase at: http://www.spiritlevelfilm.com/the-fear-factory.html/

We also have a public screening at The Frontline Club on 22nd April at the Frontline Club: http://frontlineclub.com/events/2010/04/uk-premiere-screening---fear-factor.html.

Two screenings as part of the London Independent Film festival on the 18th and 19th April, tickets available here: http://www.londonindependent.org/tickets.htm.

I’ll bring you more news soon but in the meantime, check out the New Statesman for news on The Tories’ shocking new crime leaflet - evidence of business as usual for the Fear Factory:
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/04/crime-leaflet-tories.

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