Prisons and the question of forgiveness— David Denborough



At present, prisons are upheld as our society’s response to those who have done the most harm to others. Those who have killed, hurt, assaulted, raped are supposed to be imprisoned. Also imprisoned are those who have committed property offences – most of which are directly related to poverty and the use of certain drugs which are deemed illegal.

To sincerely think about prisons involves trying to come to terms with the profound class and race-based injustices that our legal system creates and maintains. It is also to face the question of what to do with those whose acts seriously harm others, those who terrorise, assault and kill. During my years of working within prisons, I met with many men who had committed what I consider to be horrific crimes – callous, violent, cruel acts. I also met many lovely men brutalised by generational poverty, racism and/or ill-treatment.