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Oxymoron of the week: The Prison Portal

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The Prison Service has set up a Web site, which goes by the incredibly dull name hmprisonservice.gov.uk. What a missed opportunity for the UK's first Prison Portal. Think of what it could have been called -– inclink.com; doingtime.com; porridge.co.uk; goingnowhere.com; The site is really rather good, with a bias towards caring sharing sentiments that goes well with an old lag like me. We learn that the Prison Service wants to treat prisoners humanely, and it wishes that fewer of them would commit suicide. It's even prepared to do something about this. And it aims to help prisoners lead a useful life after prison by equipping them with the skills to keep on the straight and narrow. The site also contains a dictionary of prison slang –- which will come in handy for television script writers everywhere. And there is a section delivering advice to lifers. Which begs the question: how many of the UK's 60,000 prisoners have access to the Internet? ®

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