Here are this week’s headlines:
Reports published this week have highlighted that HMP Exeter is struggling as drugs and violence are becoming overwhelming within their day-to-day function. Prison inspectors, in a report published Wednesday, identified that drugs are thrown over the wall daily and there are only 29 officers in charge of 490 inmates. The report advises that the prison should have 13 additional members of staff to adequately manage 490 inmates. It was noted that the staff shortages had been following a loss of staff to local employers; such as Devon and Cornwall police.
The Category B Victorian prison has been described as overcrowded; an issue not facilitated by the staff shortages. The rising issues surrounding drugs and mental health problems correlate with an increase in violent and self-harming incidents. The report which was carried out in August 2016 but published on Wednesday, discloses that 96 assaults, 45 fights and 173 self-harm incidents occurred in the 6 months leading up to the report. Moreover, 10 self-inflicted deaths have occurred since the last report in 2013.
The assault and self-harming figures have been revealed to the public by Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, in preparation for her implementation of the prison reform bill. Chief Inspector of prisons (Peter Clarke) in discussion with MP’s said the issues articulated in the report of HMP Exeter “will create a major obstruction to the reform programme”. However, he did comment there had been ‘’a failure of leadership in some prisons but not all’’. Clarke also rejected government proposals to generate prison performance league tables as it would be impossible to make meaningful comparisons.
Read more in The Guardian.
Yesterday MPs voted by a majority of 384 in favour of passing a bill which will allow the government to invoke the Article 50 Brexit negotiations as planned.
As a result, Theresa May will today issue a White Paper setting out the governments strategy for leaving the EU.
Boris Johnson has hailed it a “momentus” night following the vote in the Commons. However, the former Chancellor George Osboure has said that the Prime Minister is putting Brexit before the UK’s economy and he will join the “fight” over Britian’s future outside of the EU.
The bill will now be passed to the House of Lords in the process of passing a bill. It seems that the Prime Minister’s plans to trigger Article 50 and start negotiations with the EU no later than the end of March is looking to be very achievable.
The Co-Op has had to recall chocolate bunnies, which retail for £1, and withdraw their sale in all 2800 Co-Op stores. This is due to a battery being found inside one of the chocolate bunnies. The Co-Op has asked any customer who has bought any of the 3000 sold to return them to the store for a full refund. There was a similar incident for the company before Christmas, where batteries were found inside two chocolate Santa’s, leading to a recall of 165,000 products.
A customer found the battery on Saturday in a bunny which she had purchased for her daughter, after her daughter had already bitten the ears off the rabbit. She found a single-cell battery, which is similar to those found in hearing aids. An investigation has been launched into suspected food tampering. The National Crime Agency and various police forces are assisting with this investigation.
A spokesman for the Co-Op has stated that “The health and safety of our customers is uppermost in our minds. We are concerned about one incident of alleged product tampering involving our hollow milk chocolate Easter bunny foil figure, which has been found to contain a small battery inside. This follows an incident at Christmas when two similar products were targeted and contaminated.” The Bunnies are manufactured in Germany and are not Co-Op branded.
Virtual Reality is prospectively the next most popular way to immerse yourself in another digital world. This development will not only change things for gamers, but will also affect social networking, as Facebook bought Oculus two years ago in order to introduce VR technology into the company. However, this week Facebook has lost $500 million in a court case, following a claim that some of Oculus’ code for the headset was stolen from another company called Zenimax. Damages are to be paid by Facebook, Oculus and some of the Oculus executives. The damages were awarded for unlawful infringement of copyright and trademarks, though not for stealing trade secrets. Oculus is planning to appeal the decision as soon as possible.