Kennet Prison – day release prisoners abscond

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27473166

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/arnold-pickering-convicted-murderer-feared-7140210

The BBC and Liverpool Echo have the story but let’s think this through because the fact is that an open prison, like Kennet, will have such problems from time to time. The assessment of an offender for day release may be wrong at times and there is no 100% guarantee that an assessment will get it right.

Of course ‘lessons will have to be learned’ as the old political phrase/excuse goes but we should not think that there will not be problems in the future because there will.

If we are to try to rehabilitate offenders as I think we should, as opposed to locking them up for the rest of their lives, then the balance of a risk assessed day release has to be the way forward even though that assessment can at times be wrong.

But there is a positive side to the rehabilitation route and it can be seen across Maghull where offenders from Kennet Prison have been working with Maghull in Bloom to brighten up the Town.

So let’s be concerned when things go wrong but let’s also celebrate when the process goes well.

The Dell – Maghull – Environmental renewal project starts to come together

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at The Dell - 31st Jan 2014

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at the Dell – 31st Jan 2014

An interesting site meeting took place last Friday in Maghull’s Dell. The Dell is an important green lung within the Town and it probably has some historical significance too according to my good friend John Hill, a Maghull in Bloom volunteer. A cross is likely to have been on the site so I am told.

The site meting was attended by a representative of the NHS Property Company who own the Dell. My understanding being that when the NHS purchased the site on which Maghull Health stands around 1970 (following the campaigning of former local GP Reg Yorke) the Dell came as part of the deal.

It has never been well maintained with the NHS doing essential maintenance only, which is hardy surprising when their priority is the health of the nation.

Some 20 years ago, as I think I have previously recorded on this blog site, Maghull Town Council tried to encourage the NHS to pass it over to them on a long lease so that it could be sympathetically landscaped and property maintained. A deal was not then possible despite my best efforts at the time. However, times change and the NHS are responding positively to the latest approach by Maghull’s highly successful ‘In Bloom’ volunteer group, hence the site meeting.

More news when I have it, but it looks like something positive could well be happening in the not too distant future all being well. If it does Melling’s Kennet Prison may well be a partner in the project. Watch this space….

Melling – Why not celebrate this historic community?

Having previously represented Melling Parish on Sefton Council I have often pondered and why at times some Melling addresses are said to be in Maghull.

A lovely view of Melling Rock and St. Thomas Church

A lovely view of Melling Rock and St. Thomas Church

Take the Pear Tree Pub that is closer to Kirkby than it is to Maghull, yet its web references, at least some of them, say it is in Maghull when it is very firmly in Melling.

Then there is HMP Kennet, not a part of it is in Maghull yet it promotes its self as having a Maghull address. It’s in Melling.

I also recall having an odd conversation with a resident about a road called Beechway in Melling, odd because whilst the whole of the road is in Melling Civil Parish the resident was most insistent that she lived in Maghull.

But you could say this identity issue goes back at least as far as the late 1800’s when the former Maghull and Melling railway station was renamed just Maghull. Agreed, the station is wholley within Maghull Civil Parish but on its far eastern side and clearly serves Melling as well.

If some folks think that Melling may be having an identity crisis let’s help it fight back. Here are some interesting Melling links:-

www.mellingparishcouncil.org/

www.animals-in-need.co.uk/

www.mellingtithebarn.org.uk/barn.htm

A final word. Some years ago, whilst I was a Borough Councillor for Melling, I was given a book called ‘A Melling Lassie’ by Irene Birch which told the story of the Scottish potters who came to live and work in Melling. How many people know that Melling once produced pottery?

Motorbikes on Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path and Cheshire Lines Path – can this menace be solved?

This has been a long standing problem in the East Parishes part of Sefton. Being blessed with a wonderful canal and an excellent long distance footpath does unfortunately bring with it some unwanted side effects – motorbikes.

They are dangerous and totally inappropriate for canal tow paths and public footpaths and cause misery to many. Of course virtually all of them used for such purposes are ridden by uninsured under age riders who do not give a damn for the safety of others.

The Canal and River Trust have previously tried all sorts of barriers but the trouble is these barriers can at times stop legitimate canal users as well. And those mini-motorbikes, often bought for little kids by their parents, can easily get underneath barriers made to stop normal sized motorbikes.

The remains of a broken motorbike barrier (now removed) near Green Lane, Maghull

The remains of a broken motorbike barrier (now removed) near Green Lane, Maghull

Not long ago we had barriers installed on the Cheshire Lines path near to Sefton Drive in Maghull in an attempt to curb use of the path by motorcycles – there has been some limited success from this initiative.

The Police do what they can but they are effectively precluded from chasing motorbikes on tow paths and footpaths because of the danger a high speed chase can bring to those unfortunate to get caught up in it. The Police need to know who is riding the bikes and where they are gaining access so that they can catch the motorbikes being unloaded from vans etc. so this is something we can all do if we see such going on – tell the Police.

This knotty issue was another subject that we tried to tackle at the recent multi-agency meeting held at Kennet Prison that I have referred to before on this blog site. The launching of a Canal Watch type scheme was discussed as seemingly a similar type project in Lancashire has brought some good results as canal users and residents can make anonymous reports like we can all do via Crime Stoppers. The Police say they get much useful information from such sources.

I think the Canal and River Trust must tear their hair out over Motorbikes and the danager and damage they do to tow paths and those using them. There probably is no one solution to this menace but the best things seem to be, making it harder for riders to gain access and also gaining intelligence as to who the riders are.

Can you help? If you can, Maghull Neghbourood Police would love to know what you may know.

Another Visit to Kennet Prison

I have posted about Melling’s Prison that is tucked away to the side of Ashworth Hospital a number of times before and I am a fan of what they are trying to achieve.

By the way there is no connection between Ashworth Hospital and Kennet Prison, they just happen to sit next to each other.

The Prison is now predominately Category D i.e. the lowest level of offenders and the majority of them are reaching the end of the sentences and will be released in due course.

What the Prison is trying to do is to find useful work for the offenders so that when they are released there is far less chance of them re-offending. Maghull in Bloom has been working with the Prison to find horticultural work for the offenders to do and some excellent results have flowed from this initiative.

Our most recent meeting was all about how the Prison can help the Canal & River Trust maintain and manage the Leeds Liverpool Canal through the East Parishes part of Sefton and, as an extension of such thinking, whether it can also assist the environmental charity Sustrans in maintaining the Cheshire Lines Long Distance Footpath.

The idea is to enable offenders to gain skills and qualifications before they are released by doing useful things for local communities. There are presently only two other prisons in England working in this way and they are in Kent and the North East.

The Police, Sefton Council Officers, a couple of us local councillors (Steve Kermode and I), The Canal and River Trust and of course Kennet Prison were all in attendance and a useful meeting it was too. I hope that more projects will flow from this kind of partnership.