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Educating Peter

Two hundred years ago, prison reformer John Howard recommended an austere, labour-intensive programme to rehabilitate criminals. Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, shares his belief in austerity if not in rehabilitation. Our literary prisoner reports from inside

By Peter Wayne   April 1996

To the north east of Rutland Water, bounded by a triangle drawn between the market towns of Grantham, Stanford and Oakham, Stocken prison lies discreetly hidden from public gaze behind a razor-wire mesh fence. Opened in 1985, Stocken is a neo-Bauhausian conglomeration of flat roofs, varying heights, and vertical expanses of glass. As I write, the temperature outside is well below freezing.

Inside, where all is breeze block, corrugation and gloss, we’re not much warmer-especially at night when the staff have all gone home. But I must not grumble. The cold makes me work harder. I’m at the tail end…

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