WORLD Cafe Day… here? In Ford? YES!!

7 Apr

A slip floats it’s way under my door to deliver the news.

I’ve selected to represent a section of the prison and will be attending World Cafe Day. This seems to sound an awful lot like an international cuisine exhibition. I momentarily lose awareness of my whereabouts.

This can only mean one thing with the word ‘Cafe’ in. It’s definitely going to involve food. Like a Victorian Urchin, the prospect of free nourishment (This includes bread) is a dreamy proposal. In prison, extra food is both a luxury and a comfort. In-fact scrap that last word.

Food is a wondrous joy.

I set myself up for an emotional fall of ‘Dropped pizza on a night out’ proportions.

First off, a late start means a little lie in. The event is to be hosted by the governess – or Governor as it’s appropriate to call them now. Short of offending. Although why the use of the masculine term as the overall term for a professional title, is any less misogynistic (Sexist) is beyond me.

The meeting held in the dining hall is screaming out to be a food based event.

Cue massive anti-climax

Being in the dining hall is the nearest I get to food.

No food.

What is this torment that has befallen me?

Seemingly, world cafe day is a fancy moniker for a:

Governor/Prisoner open forum. A focus group. We are asked a range of questions with groups answering different elements. The findings within each group are then presented to the open forum. The idea being is a useful event to address concerns an generate new ideas. The reality, is the last prison inspection bemoaned the absence of such a forum. This is a box ticking exercise therefore.

What I ascertain from the meeting can be summarised with the words:

“Nothing much changes”

One thing that did shock me however was the following:

Prison Industry at Ford produces £187,000 income per annum. This is in spite of it having a 500 man population who are paid less than the price of a pizza each week. With a captive labour market, the type only businesses in China can boast, the best the prison’s business director can do is raise little more than the price of an iPad per man each year. They’d be better off having us all here manning an outbound charity raising call centre. This is an overpaid manager in the public sector, who will no doubt have more job security during the next round job cuts than a teacher; yet offers infinitely less to society. He will not be held accountable for his dismal business performance, but bask in the shadow of the ignorant bliss cast by the closed-shop nature of the Prison Service.



One Response to “WORLD Cafe Day… here? In Ford? YES!!”

  1. Mark April 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    After speaking to somebody who recently left HMPS, until a few years ago prisons bid for private contracts ‘at cost’. However, under pressure the previous government introduced a ‘par’ style system so when the Prison Service bid for contracts, they would have to quote a figure which didn’t give them an unfair advantage over the private sector bidders (hence the pitiful profits made)

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