While a prisoner is certainly placed under boundaries of the law, s/he does not stop being a human being and it must be noted that s/he has the same right to be treated humanely and with as much importance as those who are not with him/her in prison. The treatments and the rights are controlled by those who are supposed to manage Her Majesty’s prisons and even though things such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights have improved conditions for many prisoners, there is still a lot more which can be done (Valette, 2002).
This is certainly recognized in the corporate objectives outlined by the UK Prison Service but it must also be noted that the external environment of the world at large and the UK, in particular, is changing rapidly and in the next ten to fifteen years significant alterations can be expected. There are political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal changes that impact the various stakeholders in the prison system which include the government, inmates of the prison system, managers, policymakers and the public at large (Hill and Ham, 1997). Therefore an analysis of these factors is quite important for all students of public policy.
The prison situation and handling prisoners are seen as a responsibility of the government and there are certainly political implications in how they are handled. For example, the Economist (2006) reported that more than a thousand foreign criminals had been released from prison but had not been asked or forced to leave the country. It is certainly a political question in terms of a debt to society that foreign criminals should be treated just as local criminals are but the labor government’s home secretary Charles Clarke had to listen to calls for his resignation based on this question.
The political stakeholders are the government of the day who have to come to terms with how prisoners have to be treated. They .can not afford to spend more money on them without angering those who think that the same money might be better spent elsewhere (Cohen et. al., 2006).