This article discusses the recent publication of the first legal definition of the purpose of jails. While it addresses the fact that prison has several obligations such as protecting the public, rehabilitating offenders, ensuring that prisoners are prepared for life outside of prison and to be secure and safe, it fails to address what some see as the obligation for prisons to punish offenders.

Critics argue that if prisons are not punishing prisoners, then they are being soft on crime, labelling them ‘holiday camp jails’. However, supporters believe that offenders ‘come to prison as punishment and not for punishment’.

Prisoners Abroad agrees that a prisoner’s punishment is to be in prison, and that that no further punishment is required in the form of harsh conditions, degrading treatment or feelings of isolation.

At a time when violent crime and prison violence are at a high, conditions are only worsened and opportunities for successful rehabilitation are fewer. Our work helps to combat such issues: we send newspapers, language learning material and handbooks to prisoners overseas to get them thinking about their return to the UK upon their release, as well as to keep them connected to the outside world. We also send vitamins and emergency medical grants to support prisoners who are suffering from insufficient food and medical care.

Read the full article or read accounts from people who have received our funds and materials listed above.