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Most of us consider prison a place where criminals go to serve time for a crime, and we wouldn't be wrong in that assumption.
Regardless of whether they did or didn't commit the offence they were sentenced for, they're inside a place that is absolutely ruthless and most of us can't even fathom what goes on behind those walls.
Ross Kemp has done the dirty work for us by stepping into HM Prison Barlinnie in Glasgow for an ITV special of Crime and Punishment.
Check out the trailer here:
The former Eastenders actor spoke with a bunch of criminals to see what life is really like inside a prison and whether it matches up to people's expectations. He interviewed a sex offender who didn't see anything wrong with his crime as well as a murderer who developed a heroin addiction once inside jail.
Ross told LADbible that drugs are a serious problem within the prison system: "Barlinnie prescribes more methadone than any other place in western Europe. What some of the prisoners do is take their methadone, regurgitate it later and then sell it for harder drugs."
He adds that some prisoners are sent socks or underwear soaked in Valium, where they just add boiling hot water and drink the solution to get high. Others get paper sent to them from the outside, which is sprayed with synthetic substances like Spice or Black Mamba.
Across the UK, the number of assaults has reached a record high, with a whopping 27,193 incidents in the months leading up to June; and incredibly, there were also 41,103 incidents of self-harm.
It's an issue that has been steadily rising over the past five years, according to the Guardian.
"I don't think you can punish someone and rehabilitate them at the same time and to be honest I didn't see much rehabilitation going on at all," says Ross.
He adds that an eye-opening part of filming the documentary was when he went into the prison like an inmate would. The 53-year-old had to answer a mental health questionnaire before stripping naked to ensure he wasn't carrying anything on his body. He was then led into the admissions room where dozens of soon-to-be inmates were waiting, which created an atmosphere of severe anxiety.
But while it was a good insight into what daily life is like on the inside, he insists that something needs to be done to help address some of the big problems within the prison system. One of those is repeat offenders, who - individually - cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.
"I'm not offering too many solutions here because there is such a vast problem and a vast question, 'What are prisons for?'" says Ross.
"I do think shorter sentencing doesn't work, I think we have to look at how we deal with people on the inside and give them more of a chance when they leave, and we have to look at people from certain postcodes who are revolving door prisoners."
Crime and Punishment is on ITV tonight at 9pm.
Sources: ITV, Guardian
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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