This is another Mail classic. The perfect ingredient to make us poo ourselves in our beds. Here's what the paper says:
Thousands of prisoners are being given keys to their cells in the latest farce to hit the criminal justice system.Oh my god! Thousands of prisoners! Latest farce! Except it isn't really that new. Here's a Prison Inspectorate report on HMP The Wolds from 1998 that mentions privacy keys. So, for the Mail 'the latest' things are those that have been going on for at least nine years.
Plus, the picture the Mail has painted would appear to be far from the truth. It looks as though prisoners can come and go as they please, when before they would have been locked away. But have a closer look at how things are worded. You'll notice that Gerry Sutcliffe mentions people being able to lock their cells for privacy - not being able to leave their cells where they were unable to before.
So maybe there's more to this. Let's look elsewhere. Although it isn't a Yorkshire prison, this inspection report for Hatfield Young Offender Institution says:
Each young prisoner had his own single room with a privacy lock and his own key which he had to hang up in the offices whenever he left the unit and during association. [...] Young prisoners were never locked in their rooms, although there were periods when they had to remain in them unless they asked permission to come out.And going back to the Wolds inspection document:
Single cells were of an average size with a large window and simply furnished. All had privacy keys allowing prisoners to lock them in their absence but locks could be overridden by a master key held by staff.It looks like reality might be at odds with the Mail's reporting again. It seems that the privacy locks are there to offer inmates a way of locking themselves or their things away, rather than being able to unlock their cells and wander about willy-nilly.
There's more coverage in Yorkshire Today, which is still pretty shrill, but not by Daily Mail standards. It says:
Nine prisons across the region give offenders the means to lock their own "rooms". The terminology is used by some facilities to safeguard personal belongings and allow privacy.And it mentions something the Mail manages to leave out:
A tenth of prisoner are given "courtesy keys" at HMP/YOI New Hall, although staff admitted "we still have the ability to secure the unit but not individual rooms".
So, because a cell has a privacy lock, which inmates can have a key to, it doesn't mean their rooms can't be secured from outside. That would mean they had a courtesy key, which only one in ten at one Young Offender's Institution have (as far as we know).
There's also this little gem in the Mail:
Although many of them are at open prisons and youth offenders' institutes, others are in standard closed prisons for those who have committed serious crimes such as muggings, burglary and theft.So what? Seriously. Since the Mail don't mention it, it's unlikely that muggers and burglars get privacy locks. Surely, that's more important than whether prisons that have these criminals in use them.
Storm. Teacup. Pants.