Ford Prison, West Sussex: Following the New Year's Day rampage at Ford prison, Kenneth Clarke wishes to reassure people worried about a more liberal approach to crime, Mr Clarke is examining measures to make community penalties much tougher.
Kenneth Clarke promises to "rigorously enforced community sentences that punish offenders" at the same time as helping them get them off drugs and alcohol and into work.
During the House of Commons fireworks party the Ford Prison riots started shortly after midnight. Some 40 empty bottles of alcohol were found in the prison to help 'fuel' the riot, with a stash of cocaine and heroin thrown in to help.
Kenneth Clarke is prepared for criticism over his approach from right-wing Conservative MPs and some parts of the media and has said;
- "It is too simple to argue about tougher sentencing or softer sentencing, although it makes for good headlines. I believe in intelligent sentencing."
Forty rioters went around Ford Prison unchallenged causing £Millions of damage, after two Prison Officers and four support staff in charge of 500 inmates, asked inmates to be breathalysed in scenes similar to a 'Benny Hill' sketch, on the night of an 'unprecedented' riot.
Kenneth Clarke has previously stated on record;
- "Too often prison has proved a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens," he will say. "In our worst prisons it produces tougher criminals."
The arson attacks at Ford Prison, targeted a total of six accommodation blocks, a gymnasium, a mail room, a snooker room and a pool room including 10 newly-installed pool tables.
Quite rightly, there has been public criticism, with one member of the public urging Kenneth Clarke to consider this option;
- "Why don't they let Butlins or Centre Parcs run our prisons they are pretty good at running Holiday Camps."