When considering why Grendon1 has been described as a Maverick prison, it is necessary to consider what is the purpose of incarceration? Predominantly until Psychological awareness expanded to understand, and research the successful ways to debilitate atypical behaviour, a prison was appreciated as a place of punishment, separating the 'Normal-Good' from the 'Abnormal-Bad2'.
To some degree this stereotypical, presumption has prevailed over logic and realism. Those who commit a 'crime' have metaphorically been detached from societal norms, through Media and Politics. A 'criminal' is perceived as different from common man. The general 'Good' public strive to detach themselves from those who they pre-judge as a tool protecting themselves from becoming a victim of 'crime' or from fear of becoming a 'criminal'.
It should remain acknowledged that those who commit or allegedly commit 'crime' are not from a detached 'underworld'; 'crime' and 'criminal's are classless, raceless, ageless, and genderless nevertheless, whilst a prison 'must keep dangerous people off the streets it must also enforce that these dangers are controlled through rehabilitation3'. However, this ignorant labelling prevents 'coherence' within society and serves to restrict not support all victims of 'crime'. Psychiatric awareness provoked radical innovations of the penal system.
Grendon opened in 1963, to implement this revolutionary idealistic approach of rehabilitation. This pioneering prison stood in isolation for 40 years before its ability was reproduced. Grendon predominantly maintains the Welfare of 'Serious' offenders and clinically recognised 'psychologically' challenged 'inmates', therefore by way of understanding Grendon it shall be compared and contrasted with traditional prison functions to illuminate whether Grendon truly is a individualist and unconventional prison. Does a unique Prison serve unique needs? Grendon portrayed as a 'unique establishment…
Attempting for the first time, in and English Prison, a therapeutic approach to the treatment of non-psychotic recidivist offenders'4 with moderate to severe personality disorders, presented the dawn of a new aeon where punishment would be replaced with assistance. How far this proclamation is true can be justified by examining how many of Grendon's post 'inmates' re-offend, nevertheless contrary to great support of Grendon's regime results should be measured vigilantly since statistics do not straightforwardly prove anything they may only presume.
One 'inmate' who experienced a series of prisons before entering Grendon asserts that 'nothing can change your behaviour5'. This 'inmate' supports Grendon's methodology, but is this support through recognition that its approach works to debilitate 'adverse' behaviour or does he feel that the prison is simply less of a punishment than a standard prison? The issue of a unique prison serving the needs of unique individuals deserves immeasurable scrutiny; however obtaining this evidence has to date remained elusive.
Existing obtained evidence6, have made encouraging indications, but abandons to accomplish 'hard facts'. This has led to the value of Grendon's achievements being undermined. The issue in question is so difficult to obtain for many reasons, but the predominant issue is which paradigm researches what, for what purpose and with what conclusions. Criminology suffers at the consequence of considering an individual issue from numerous perspectives. Therefore, when considering 'what works7' the government is faced by conflicting evidence all supporting their own assumptions.
This in many ways is one of Grendon's limitations. Grendon's approach is in many ways concentrates on the behaviour8 reform using conditioning, modelling, cognitive therapy and psychodynamics' to transform 'atypical' behaviour. The approach may work for some prisoners, whose behaviour is learnt, or has developed from youth but despite anaemic reflection of subsequent methods it neglects to embrace that behaviour may result from an alternative foundation, which may necessitate a distinctive or unique approach. What can be learnt from this Maverick approach to Prisons.
Grendon Underwood exists as a therapeutic Community treatment based Category B Prison. This serves to support rather than punish 'inmates' who have accepted that their actions and behaviour need to be controlled and deceased. Contrasting traditional prisons, Grendon 'inmates' volunteer to serve their sentence in this institution; to some degree this personifies the philosophy of Grendon. From the outset, 'inmates' have the decision to nominate themselves, which requires them take responsibility for their own actions.
In traditional prisons, 'inmates' are passive to the system; they experience no influence over any characteristic of their personal existence, which has established increasing resentment, and a lack of self-responsibility for their actions. Where prisoners neglect to take accountability for their own performance this will intensify the opportunity of further crime, as the prisoner can attribute their behaviour on everyone but themselves9 persistent in a condition of apathy or an overlooked need for help.
Grendon advocates the necessity of encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for their lives and their actions10. The process of Grendon enables each 'inmate' to influence of their 'spent time' by reducing the prison extraneous variables, which generate rather then debilitate 'criminal minds'. This is achieved by ensuring that the prison is not subjected to overcrowding11 which in the past has led to numerous riots12, protests, and severe dissatisfaction from prisoners and staff. If prisoners and staff can operate within the system coherently with respect then the ability to reform prisoners strengthens.
Grendon is not a traditional prison but acts as therapeutic communities. Within the prison there are probative and therapeutic wings. The Prison hold five wings each with 40 'inmates', this supports the staff and 'inmate's needs and requirements to obtain coherence and effective order. What Grendon has recognised is that obstacles such as overcrowding often become the catalyst of desperation for Prisoners and Staff of a prison. Bad conditions13 in many prisons have led to severe distress. These conditions include the overcrowding of prisoners to a cell and sanitation problems.
Until April 1996, 'Slopping out14' was an integral part of the prison system. With the overcrowding problems, and long hours confined to the cell15 the contaminated pollution stemming from this regime inflicted hazards to physical and mental health. For many prisoners the prospect of sharing a call with the 'sense' of each other excrement's urged an informal approach to the problem16. Grendon pioneered against this custom, which provided 'inmates' with respect and pride. As a consequence prisoners were less hostile and more willing to co-operate.
The assumption that prison has become a breeding institution for 'criminal' minds and bullying led to the implementation of decreasing the triangular hierarchy effects between prisoners. Grendon achieved this goal by mixing the 'class' of 'inmates'. From the 40 'inmates' on each wing they are divided into groups of 7 or 8. In those sub-groups are mixes of 'inmate's with different 'criminal' backgrounds. Therefore a sex offender (nonce) will be in the same group as armed robbers (Blagger) thus reducing the 'triangular hierarchy' of prisoners.
This technique has found that bullying has reduced. As evidence has recognised that drug abuse is a catalyst for crime, Grendon has established as a democratic regime of a 'drug free zone'. This innovative policy has tackled one of the major problems within the prison system. Many prisoners fail to face up to their problems because they are cataleptic from the drugs chemical effects. Drug abuse is an escape mechanism for the prisoners. Grendon has successfully isolated this complication through the undivided democratic acceptance by prisoners.
This formulates rehabilitation more successful than any other prisons, which are legendary for their convenience in supplying drugs on demand. Can Grendon, really possess all the answers? Grendon has encouraged the government to reassess their perspectives on reform and punishment. However, while altering the face of the prison regime Grendon has many defects, which promotes Grendon's philosophy as exceedingly deterministic and simplistic. Hypothesise remain that Grendon will only maintain their ability to obtain prison volunteers17 whilst in reflection the majority of prisons are unbearable.
Therefore, if those 'unbearable' prisons were to improve would this mean that the 'waiting list' for Grendon ''inmate's' would diminish? Grendon has suffered many accusations prompting research into their results and their accountability. Grendon has a 'waiting list' of prospective prisoners requiring treatments; this enables Grendon to select who will receive such treatment. This suggests that Grendon has the power to be 'self-selecting18'; Grendon can choose prisoners who are suggestible so will reform naturally. There are many ethical19 considerations concerning that Grendon may be 'self-selecting'.
Who could determine who is more worthy of treatment that the next? Certainly those who have remained on the 'waiting list' but have failed to obtain a place at Grendon have been mistreated. Those who receive a place a Grendon do not automatically and instantaneously receive therapy20. This leaves many voluntary prisoners without the support they anticipated receiving for a substantive time. Grendon assumes that the cause of behaviour results from freewill21 and individual determinism not social determinism22, although Social determinism is recognised it cannot control these influential variables.
If the behaviour is the result of deterministic variables such as poverty then when the 'inmate' is released from Grendon that deterministic variable will still be an influence. Any extremist approach will not achieve the aim of Grendon. Neither Free-will23 nor determinism24 will achieve continuity in the objective of treating 'atypical' behaviour, essentially a soft deterministic approach would be more logical as through this method it would be possible achieve equilibrium.