How BBC prison drama Time 'helped make the case for jails crackdown'

How BBC prison drama Time starring Sean Bean ‘helped make the Government’s case for a planned crackdown in jails’

  • The drama depicts the stark reality of a prisoner’s struggle to cope in a jail
  • Sean Bean stars as school teacher Mark Cobden, a drink-drive killer put inside
  • The drama has been hailed for its portrayal of prison life with final one tonight

Gritty prison drama Time has helped to make the Government’s case for a planned crackdown in jails, justice officials believe.

The ground-breaking drama depicts the stark reality of a prisoner’s struggle to cope in a jail riddled with gangs and violence.

Sean Bean stars as school teacher Mark Cobden, a drink-drive killer thrown into a world of prison corruption and relentless violence.

The drama has been hailed for its portrayal of prison life. Its final episode airs on BBC1 tonight.

Now Government officials believe the portrayal will bolster their plans for a tougher regime in jails.

Sean Bean stars as school teacher Mark Cobden, a drink-drive killer thrown into a world of prison corruption and relentless violence

The crackdown will see offenders spend more time in their cells, after male inmates said they felt safer under tougher Covid-19 curbs.

Prisoners revealed they preferred to spend more time locked up, resulting in violent incidents falling by 34 per cent in the past year.

The Government also plans to end ‘unstructured associations’ – letting prisoners mingle in communal areas for much of the day – in men’s prisons after the fall in violence.

Offenders will still be allowed out of their cells to work, or for education and exercise.

The drama has been hailed for its portrayal of prison life. Its final episode airs on BBC1 tonight

A Ministry of Justice source said: ‘For the past year we’ve been able to see the effects of tighter lockdowns on male prisoners. While we’re not planning to introduce 23-hour lockdowns, we won’t be going back to the old system – it will be somewhere in between.

‘Male prisoners feel safer not associating with other dangerous offenders – understandably. Though it’s just a drama, the Time series shows what life can be like.’

The measures will be imposed in all ‘closed estate’ Category A, B and C prisons. Open prisons will not be subject to the measures.

Women’s prisons and young offenders’ facilities will revert to pre-Covid measures after officials noticed a greater impact on the mental health of offenders.

A White Paper with the lockdown details and measures to reform prisons is expected later this year.

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