COMMENT: Putting sex offenders at Ashfield in Pucklechurch is a price too high to pay
WE have to put our prisoners somewhere.
For centuries we have struggled to find he safest place to lock up the most dangerous people to our society, whether it be in castles or dungeons, on boats moored at sea or sending them off to the farthest-flung country away from British soil.
But, for the most part, we have become used to modern prisons situated with towns and cities where relatives can visit easily and court appearances are a mere stone’s throw away.
Such facilities are likely never wanted. But over time people living grow used to their presence, grateful of the jobs they provide and with little trouble to speak of, relatively tolerant of their existence.
Such is the case in Pucklechurch where other than Ashfield making the news occasionally for an increase in assaults or conversely a rise in educational qualifications attained, residents co-exist peacefully with their 400 imprisoned neighbours.
But, and for people in Pucklechurch it is a very big but, those hundreds of 15 to 18-year-olds locked up for the first time are a very different group to live near than adult men jailed sex offenders.
The very thought of so many dangerous convicts all placed together in one location is enough to make anyone shudder, least of all those who can see such men taking a daily stroll in the prison grounds from their homes nearby.
Add to those fears the fact residents have not been consulted and have little chance of airing their views and you have one very unhappy village.
Yes we must lock up those who have failed society. But not at the expense of an entire community.