Category Archives: politics

Is punishment the best way to encourage rehabilitation?

An age-old debate: how should prisoners be treated?

Should they be caged up like animals? Left to fester in cold cells? Is punishment the best way to encourage change? Or should preaching and practicing rehabilitation be the main aim of imprisonment?

The United Kingdom spends more money on public order than the United States or any other European Union countries. Nevertheless, jails are highly ineffective. With an imprisonment rate of 150 per 100,000 people and over 83,000 prisoners currently locked away in England and Wales. Since 1994, English and Welsh prisons have been overcrowded.

Arguably, the whole point of imprisonment is to lower the number of criminals in our society and rehabilitate them by punishing them and taking their freedom away. With nearly 75 percent of teenagers under 18 being reconvicted within in a year of release, it’s clear that the system’s agenda is not being achieved.

“As it stands now, justice systems are extremely expensive, do not rehabilitate, but in fact make the people that experience them worse.”- James Bell, an American lawyer and prison reform activist

It’s not just the United Kingdom that is failing at upholding the ultimate goal of the prison system. Countries across the world are not following through with their agenda either.

As a result, a growing number of prisons are embracing rehabilitation and a new form of incarceration. By giving inmates more responsibility, freedom, and comfort, prisoners are given the chance to change.

Justizzentrum Leoben, a minimum security prison in Austria, allows convicts to live in one-bed cells containing a television set and ensuite bathroom.

Halden Prison in Norway takes on a campus-style prison with two-bedroom houses where inmates can enjoy overnight visits from family and friends.

Critics of minimum security prisons believe that they could encourage and increase unruly and dangerous behaviors. Nevertheless, Halden boasts the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.

Situated on an island off the coast of Norway sits a minimum security prison home to 110 criminals name Bastøy Prison. Inmates here are encouraged to cycle along biking trails, go on walks, fish in the surrounding waters, and interact with the 69 staff members who work there.

The idea of giving prisoners a higher amount of freedom is slowly beginning to become more supported. Prisoners in UK prisons are now being encouraged to listen to radio stations such as the Prison Radio Association. Many of the shows run by the Prison Radio Association are even presented and produced by prisoners.

“Reducing reoffending is of benefit to everybody. Equipping prisoners with skills and confidence is crucial in bringing down reoffending rates. Prison radio offers a unique, innovative and effective way to communicate with prisoners and engage them in education, debate, and community,” says a spokesperson from Prison Radio Association.

An inmate from HMP Lindholme expresses his praises towards the station,  “I’ve just been introduced to NPR and the inspiration your radio station gives has been a very welcome breath of fresh air. I have now found a new lease of life and I’m now going after a dream I once had as a student at college”.

The United Kingdom prison system is focused on punishment versus rehabilitation. Nevertheless, the results of giving inmates a higher sense of responsibility and loosening our grip on prisoners looks to be the best way to fulfill the agenda of our prison system.


Featured image VIA https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/12188159/The-way-to-cut-crime.html

National Palestinian demonstrations planned in London on Saturday

A national demonstration for Palestinians will be taking place in London tomorrow afternoon. Assembling at 12 noon in Portland Place, demonstrators will march to Whitehall carrying signs and banners in support of Palestinians.

Organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the demonstration is calling for global protests to protect Palestinian’s collective rights. They say they hope to ‘hold Israel to account and push for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.’

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Previous rallies by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Source: PSCupdates

The demonstrations are in partnership with Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al- Aqsa, and Muslim Association of Britain.

The demonstration comes at the beginning of ‘Nakba week’ where the Palestine Solidarity Campaign organises a week of events to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, which was when 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the Palestine War.

Their most recent London rally occurred on 31st March 2019 when hundreds gathered in front of the Israeli Embassy in Central London. The protesters demanded that Palestinian refugees return to their homes, “from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.” The rally was met with a counter-protest of a small group holding Israeli flags.

Oxbridge set to increase bursaries for low-income students by 2020

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are both currently on the track to expand inclusivity by increasing bursaries given to students from low-income backgrounds.

Starting in 2020, Oxbridge students from low-income backgrounds will be receiving up to £5,000 per year in scholarship funding. In an effort to attract students who would typically write off the university due to their high tuition fees, both leading British universities are looking to bring in students from “under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Following last years accusations of being socially exclusive and failing to recruit eligible students from public colleges, the University of Oxford claimed that they were “very aware” that they “must work harder.”

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Currently, the University of Oxford provides 25 percent of its students with £8,000,000 of financial support. Students whose guardians earn less than £27,500 are currently receiving between £3,700 and £1,700. In 2020, this figure will increase to between £5,000 and £4,200.

According to research performed by the Sutton Trust charity, between 2015 and 2017, Oxbridge enrolled more students from the eight top British schools than nearly 3,000 other English state schools put together.

Advocating for a “fair chance”, Sutton Trust’s founder Sir Peter Lampl found that students from the top eight schools in Britain filled 1,310 places at Oxford and Cambridge while 2,900 state schools filled 1,200 places between 2015 and 2017.

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In 2018, Labour MP David Lammy criticized the University of Oxford following a report that found that a mere 11 percent of undergraduate students at the university were from “disadvantaged backgrounds.” This report also found that white British applicants were twice as likely to be accepted than black applicants.

In response, director of undergraduate admissions, Samina Khan claimed that that was, “not getting the right number of black people with the talent to apply to us.”

Oxford’s Student Union stepped in and claimed, “there are large and unacceptable attainment gaps in schools, which greatly disadvantage black pupils and those from low-income backgrounds, among other under-represented groups.”

In a poll taken by 336 students, 94% said that they agreed with Oxbridge accepting more applicants from low-income environments.


“I think that giving low-income and disadvantaged students a financial boost is an effort that will greatly excel the university’s diversity and reputation.”- Morgan Howk, 20

“I really appreciate what Oxford and Cambridge are doing and I wish more university’s would follow in suit.”- Katie Trent, 21

“While I admire their efforts, I think that they are not tackling the most present issue here. Their announcement is just a coverup for the fact that they don’t really want to diversify the University in terms of race. Only [17.9%] of Oxford students are BAME and I personally think that, that should be improved upon before they focus on other flaws in their admissions system.”- Shawn Waynick, 19


Overall, Dr. Jane Gover, the university’s director of student finances, said that, “there’s been really strong feedback,” from Oxford currently enrolled undergraduate students.

Gover believes that, “this is a really huge part of the university work to attract and support undergraduates from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds. We don’t want to see students being put off because they’re worried about the cost of living or their ability to engage with university life.”


Featured Image VIA https://focusedcollection.com/stock-photos/oxford-university.html

 

“WE WANT MORE NUKES”

An ongoing protest outside Westminster Abbey received a mixed reception as members of the royal house attended a service at the Abbey.

The already high police presence was increased prior to demonstrations and a “die-in” which commenced at 12pm. 

Tourists and City workers stopped to take photographs, with one construction worker blazing “We want more nukes.” 

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Two separate demonstrations were organised. One demonstration condemned a service supposedly thanking the peace nuclear weapons had created. It consisted of vicars and clergymen and other supporters of the Anglican Church.

The second, which did not have affiliations to the church, encouraged disarmament and slated the government for their development of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). The die-in condemned the collateral damage caused to human life and the environment by previous governments. 

Opponents of the protest returned with pro-nuclear weapon comments “Big up nuclear war, it’s exactly what we want.” 

People from all walks of life attended the protest, with students, pensioners and young families, and even a few pets in attendance. 

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One protestor said “I want my children, and grandchildren and their children to have a world to grow up in.” She was physically and emotionally moved by the events unfolding. 

Pointing to the Abbey, the pensioner said “I’m here because Weapons of Mass Destruction are absolutely immoral. “I don’t think they’ve (WMDs) ever been a deterrent.”

The protest had slowly been gaining momentum in the early afternoon with protesters aiming to maintain the “die-in” for as long as possible. 

Photos and text by Zubair Karmalkar

Lib Dem support increases in local elections following Brexit backlash

As the local elections come to a close, the conservative party have lost over 700 councillors alongside Labour who have lost just under 100. This follows the complete Brexit Blunder that has been happening since the referendum in 2016, which has caused a huge divide with the country. 

Liberal democrats have seen a substantial rise in seats with a gain of 398 councillors. The local elections take place to select office-holders in local government. This fully impacts how the country views the government and its decisions. 

With Brexit being extended until October, the results have been interpreted by the PM Theresa May, as the voter’s plea to ‘deliver Brexit’ which was reported by The Guardian this afternoon. The hashtag #Brexitbacklash is currently trending across the UK, with many voicing that Brexit impacted not only this vote, but their vote in the Euro Elections at the end of the month. 

 The Local elections take place every 4 years, with the main goal to establish Mayors and Councillors representing England and Northern Island. This is different from the General Election where you vote for who you wish to see Govern Britain. Your Local Councillor is chosen to represent the people who live in your area. 

 With the two main parties holding considerable losses, people have used the elections to show their opinions on Brexit and where to go from here. From the referendum nearly 3 years ago, many have begun to grow frustrated with the government, calling for them to just ‘get on with it’. 

 The losses for the conservative party could mean a real lack of confidence in the government and the PM who has been under scrutiny for the handling of Brexit, with many setbacks and anger around her deals. 

What your £20 for a NUS student discount card actually goes to

Walking through a fresher’s fair, a student is often first greeted by the welcoming bright teal sign of the NUS. More formally known as the National Union of Students, the famous brand is commonly known for offering students some of the best discounts in the United Kingdom.

Aside from the massive discounts NUS offers, when a student signs up for the union, they join a group of over seven million students aiming to use their education in order to create a fair and prosperous society.

Nevertheless, 61% of students are unaware of what the NUS does for their university environment. And even so, of the 39% who are “aware” of what the National Union of Students does, 86% thought that the organization was just their NUS Extra Card that allows them to get discounts.

Founded in 1922, as an effort to make peace after the first world war, their mission still remains to promote, defend, and extend student rights allows them to fight discrimination and injustice through democratic representation, campaigning, and targeted action.

Through the help of students across the nation, the NUS is able to bring together the collective interests of their members in order to develop research that influences national policy and take on issues that affect the lives of students now and in the future.

The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organization consisting of 600 students’ unions. That’s more than 95 percent of all higher student unions in the United Kingdom. When a student pays £20 for their discounted student railway card or the extra 20% off at Boots, they agree to uphold and support the three core values of the NUS: equality, democracy, and collectivism.

The latest elected officers of the NUS focus on pursuing equal opportunities for everyone to fully participate in a society of students to celebrate diversity. The NUS also aims to “[build] open, transparent, and accessible democratic structures that increase performance and strengthen accountability.”

Furthermore, their message strongly resonates with the quote, “unity is our strength” by constantly promoting the idea that students’ unions are more effective when they work with each other on a local, national, and international level.

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Within every student’s union lies a desire to provide wide-ranging research and discussion about the policies of further education, higher education, society, citizenship, union development, and welfare.

Spanning across Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, the NUS also campaigns and defends the rights of highly marginalized and underrepresented groups such as black students, disabled students, LGBTQI+, and women.

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Although it may seem like the NUS does nothing but give you 10% off at Pizza Express and lead the funding and mission student unions, their recent movements and parliamentary wins for students are very present for plenty of individuals.

Student’s right to protected student deposits in the private rented sector, exemption from Council Tax, Young Persons Railcard, and Endsleigh Student Insurance are all due to the constant efforts of the NUS.

Less known strides towards a more student-friendly world have been made by the NUS as well. In the past three years, the National Union of Students has managed to help 48,000 international students who were wrongly deported after falsified English language tests were turned in.

The NUS is also the reason why students over the age of 30 are still able to receive student loans.

When founded by Sir Ivison MacAdam, his vision for the future involved providing “hope for tomorrow.” Giving a voice to their seven million members from all walks of life and fighting for a better student environment for the future.

Read all about what the NUS is doing to not file bankruptcy here.

Who is the U.K Student Climate Network?

 

On March 15th, students from more than 112 countries took to the streets in one of the biggest climate protests since.

 

Who started the young activist climate change movement?

 

This demand for climate change jump-started last year, when Swedish, 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg, influenced tens of thousands of young climate change activists in countries such as the United Kingdom. Australia, France, Uganda, Colombia and Thailand.

 

When is the next strike?

 

The next strike to this cause will be held, Friday, 12th  April, 2019.

 

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Image by: School Strike

 

Does the U.K have its own young activists climate change society?

 

In the United Kingdom, these activists have created their own network called the ‘UK Student Climate Network’.

This network is made up of under 18s who go against the government in hopes that they can protect their future.

Currently, the network has a target of £50,000 to help in their fight for climate change.

This infographic gives us the mission and demands of the UK Student Climate Network for the government that will help tackle the climate crisis and help he younger generation towards a better future.

 

U.K. Student climate network (2)

Images from: School Strike

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