AND JERSEY OLIGARCHY SPIN:
A few, Brief Comments.
Before I get into the substance of this post readers may like to note that I will be doing a post everyday now in my coverage of the Jersey elections.
I may even get another post done this evening, other demands permitting.
So watch this space.
Below this post I reproduce a couple of very brief articles from the web-site of Community Care Magazine. They’ve clearly had sight of the Howard League report, and full articles appear in the paper edition of the magazine.
The report itself should be out this weekend – but in the mean time we can get a flavour of what’s in it from the Com-Care pieces.
As several of my perspicacious readers have pointed out – the oligarchy spin-campaign against the Howard League began at the start of this week – and the report isn’t even published yet.
I guess it’s a bit of that old rugby adage – about “getting your retaliation in first”.
We’ve heard the sounds of Jimmy Perchard squealing on BBC Jersey radio – and feeding another load of garbage to the listening public who he’s supposed to be representing.
I always knew Jimmy wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box – but I’ve actually been quite startled at just how stupid he really is.
Consider his attempts to spin against the Howard League report.
He holds up the Williamson report as though it were the last word on caring for children in custody.
In the same breath, tries to rubbish the report of the Howard League – because it correctly says that what I and Simon Bellwood were objecting to was, in fact, unlawful.
But it obviously hasn’t dawned on Jimmy (someone will have to break the news to him gently) that on this key point – the simple illegality of the punitive and coercive regimes of solitary confinement – the Howard League and Williamson reports do not contradict each-other.
Although weak, feeble and inadequate in oh so many ways – even the Williamson report couldn’t avoid saying this:
“However, to use single separation/isolation, the process whereby children are forcibly removed from association with others and confined to a room on their own as a punishment for misbehaviour, is clearly inappropriate and should never be sanctioned by any care regime.”
The Howard League come to exactly the same conclusion so far as this observation is concerned – except that they state the facts plainly and without the weasel-words of Williamson.
Actually – I’m beginning to wonder if Jimmy can actually read. Perhaps he just can’t comprehend any written English unless it’s in the form of a letter explaining the latest farming subsidies?
For example – on Tuesday I e-mailed him in these terms:
Having just returned to Jersey from London – where I have been fighting for the rights of vulnerable children in Jersey in the teeth of opposition from people like you – I have listened to the interview you gave on BBC radio Jersey this morning.
I’d be grateful if I could have answers to a few questions.
Why do you continue to tell lies about me? For example, trotting-out the falsehood that my motivation is “making political capital” out of the situation?
Why are you and your Minister entirely happy to keep in employment a variety of senior – highly expensive – civil servants – who have – on an evidenced basis – lied and engaged in a variety of malfeasances?
How is it imagined that the claims of you and your Minister to have the welfare of children as your highest concern can be taken seriously, when you allow Joe Kennedy to return to work?
Likewise – how are you to be taken seriously when you will not so much as even suspend one, senior civil servant – even though Frank’s poodle – Williamson – said that the solitary confinement regimes which your officers enacted and covered-up were “never acceptable”?
Could you show me where you have registered an interest – in that you engaged in a very lucrative property transaction with one Joylyon Baker – the brother of Piers Baker – the man who had to resign in disgrace from Victoria College – and who described video footage of acts of child abuse as “teachers’ perks”?”
But – I just can’t get even the faintest response from him. Maybe I should telephone him and read him the e-mail over the phone?
You know, I’m sufficiently motivated to have a good, long chat with Jimmy about these issues that – get this – I’m even going to e-mail BBC Jersey and offer to do the Sunday phone-in with him.
And if he’s too cowardly – I’m happy to appear with Frank “you’re just trying to shaft Jersey internationally” Walker.
Perhaps Sunday the 26th October would be good? We’ll have had time to read and digest the Howard League report then
Of course – the exercise is futile – as last time I made such an offer to BBC Jersey to have a live debate program with Big Frank, they responded by saying “The BBC does not host political debates because it might influence decision-makers.”
Somehow, Denzil Dudley’s approach to programming has been missed by the BBC top-brass – who carry on broadcasting programs such as Question Time and Any Questions.
But – I guess one has to go through the motions of making the offer anyway. If nothing else I’ll get a good blog-post out of their absurd reply.
Anyway – have a read of the two, brief pieces from the Com-Care web site below whilst we await the publication of the Howard League report.
And as I said earlier, I’m going to do a post each day up to the elections – so carry-on checking the site – you might miss some of the excitement otherwise.
EXTRACTS FROM COMMUNITY CARE MAGAZINE
Report backs up complaints of sacked Jersey professional
Posted: 09 October 2008 | Subscribe Online
writes Maria Ahmed
It is more than a year since Community Care broke the story of how UK social worker Simon Bellwood was sacked from his job at a secure unit on Jersey after he criticised a policy of locking up children in solitary confinement.
At the time, Bellwood’s employers denied the claims, but an employment tribunal and an inquiry into his sacking earlier this year helped to vindicate him.
The strongest vindication yet will come in the findings of the Howard League for Penal Reform. The Jersey establishment can no longer deny abuses in their children’s system and must act on the evidence before them.
The full article is published in the 9 October edition of Community Care under the headline “Bellwood vindicated”
New Jersey revelations alleging abuse in Howard League report
Howard League calls for reform of Jersey’s secure practices
Posted: 07 October 2008 | Subscribe Online
writes Maria Ahmed
The Howard League for Penal Reform is expected to make fresh allegations about past abuse of children held in custody in Jersey, including being held in solitary confinement in cold rooms with concrete beds.
The “highly credible” evidence is expected in a report out soon from the League, which visited the island to investigate concerns first raised by UK social worker Simon Bellwood.
Abusive practices alleged
The charity’s report is likely to say that staff and young people alleged the existence of “abusive” practices going back many years. These include being held in isolation with little human contact for long periods.
It is also expected to criticise Jersey’s juvenile custody rate, which is higher than that in England and Wales and other European countries, despite the island’s small population and lack of comparable inner city problems.
Cases cited by the Howard League are understood to include children sent to custody for being found drunk, urinating in a public place and causing “malicious damage”.
Old boys network in Jersey
The report is likely to criticise “old boys’ networks” in the Jersey establishment, claiming this deters people from making complaints. It is expected to recommend a more effective whistleblowing policy, inspection of secure services by an external body such as Ofsted and the establishment of an independent prosecution service.
The findings follow a turbulent year for Jersey where a police investigation into historic child abuse at several institutions – unrelated to Simon Bellwood’s case – is continuing.
Bellwood, who has settled his claim for unfair dismissal, said he hoped the Howard League report would “serve the interests of children rather than the political elite of Jersey”.
Bellwood was sacked from his post as manager at the Greenfields secure unit in Jersey last year after criticising the practice of placing children in solitary confinement. His case, first reported in Community Care, sparked several inquiries including the Howard League investigation this year.
• More on Jersey at: www.communitycare.co.uk/jersey1