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Britain’s prisons are not where Farid Reza should be

By Ameet Ubhi Mar 20, 2017
Farid Reza has been sentenced to five years and three months. Credit: Facebook

Farid Reza was found guilty and sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment for killing fellow student and neighbour Hina Shamim in a road collision outside the Penhryn Road campus on March 31, 2015.
People in the UK believe retribution for committing a crime is just and right.

It is our definition of justice.
However recent statistics indicate that there is up to a 79 per cent reoffending rate in the worst prisons in England and Wales.
Our jails are supposed to rehabilitate, but instead they have become centres of indoctrination and alienation.
Balstoy Prison in Norway has been dubbed the “prison that treats inmates as people”, and has been subject to massive criticism due to its belief that inmates should work whilst jailed.
Balstoy, however, can boast a 16 per cent reoffending rate.
I believe the UK justice system needs to aim to improve society as a whole; emotion and views on individual cases should be left for social media.
The money spent on keeping prisoners locked up should be used to tackle the roots of social problems and ensure those convicted are rehabilitated back into society properly.
I cannot speak for Hina’s family who have experienced something no family should.
What is going to happen to Reza once imprisoned? A friend who spent four months at HMP Redditch told me how jail was segregated heavily by race.
Reza would likely be committed to a group of inmates from his own ethnic background, and live in a gang-like atmosphere, which would only promote undesirable behaviour for society.
No punishment will bring Hina back.
But neither will Reza’s rotting in a jail cell.
Our prisons need to incorporate proper methods of rehabilitation, by changing his “reckless” mind-set.

It can be achieved by working with inmates, and not against them.
Norway has the blueprint and it has proved its success.
I went to his trial at the Old Bailey.

I am aware he knelt at the feet of Hina’s father and pled for forgiveness. But that hasn’t suckered me into believing he should be a free man.
However, using people’s anger as a foundation to run our justice system is not how legal institutions should operate.

By Ameet Ubhi

Ameet is a journalism undergraduate who is interested in pursuing ethnography.

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