Indeed some very hair raising concerns have been voiced and we have been seeking a way forward in order to monitor and scrutinise the Prison Service be it in public private control, such a HMP Birmingham more commonly known as Winson Green Prison.
The Department of Justice has an Independent Monitoring Board, which are members of the public that take on this free Civic Role and Meet monthly as a body with Prison Officials and they also have 24/7 access to the Prison in order to check on inmates in terms of their welbeing.
These post can be applied for by Members of the Public; who go through a selection process and training is given to successful appointees.
In the case of HMP BIrmingham there is only one Independent Monitoring Board Member from the BME Community and infact over 50% of the inmates are from the BME Community. Therefore, this represents an issues surrounding demographic's yet again.
Understanding the needs of individuals that are in Prison is quite important and with various anxieties from family members, this needs to be addressed. It isn't an issue or argument about guilt or innocence but one of welfare and humanity.
This in itself is an important civic role and I would urge those of you that are interested to visit the Department of Justice Website www.imb.gov.uk .
There appears to be a lack of publicity surrounding these Civic Roles, however, we are determined to ensure that the public are aware of these duties and it's a decision for you to apply should you wish to do so.