At Her Majesty's Pleasure

The prisoner riot at HMP Ashwell has been brought under control after 22 hours. No casualties apparently, but 75 percent of the prison is wrecked and we all know who’ll be picking up the tab for that.

Reasons given for the riot breaking out change every time I read the news. Some reports say the place is overcrowded with prisoners who belong in more secure custody. The government spokesman says this is nonsense and Ashwell is still the low-security holiday camp for old lags it was always intended to be.

Two things seem clear. The flashpoint was a prisoner who was deprived of his privileges after being found outside his cell at 2am, hammered on home-made liquor. I’ve been trying to find out whether he made it by fermenting his socks or distilling his after-shave but so far no further information. The other thing on which everyone and his Uncle Louie seem agreed: Ashwell is full of bored and unhappy inmates.

Funny, I thought that was one of the main points of prison.


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Two pints make one cavort.


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