Trouble at The Top
In the episode "The Governor: A Trouble at the Top Special" we are given unique access to Wandsworth Prison after its damning report in December 1999 from the Chief Inspector of Prisons. Saying "I never want toi see again the conditions and treatment of prisoners evident during our inspections", he slammed the culture of fear within prison life at Wandsworth and demanded change.
Weeks later a new Governor, Stephen Rimmer, is brought in ti run England's biggest prison - well known for housing some fo the toughest prisoners in the country. He is a man with a very clear brief: to turn Wandsworth Prison around. The Chief Inspector is returning in December 2000 and wants to see a difference. Trouble at the Top follows Rimmer across his first year at Wandsworth to see if he will make it to a second.
The new Governor is certainly committed to a programme of change. He says: "I'm very trendy.. I was very much a punk in my adolescence." In an attempt to change the culture of fear he renames the Seperation & Punishment Block the Care & Seperation Unit.
Further plans include quiz nights for tyhe inmates, the removal of the intimidating Alsatian dogs and a change to the regime so prisoners have more time out of their cells. However, the Prison Officers think he is naive, with only a minimal experience of working in a prison. They are unconvinced by many of his new ideas, particularly when he suggests the dog handlers visit the prison councillors. How will he enforce his new inmate-friendly policies? And will they lead to a happier environment for all?
The cameras follow Steohen Rimmer as he confronts the massive task ahead of him. How will he win the respect and trust of 300 Prison Officers used to a tougher style of management? How will he cope with the first sit down protest in 25 years? And how will the prison adapt to the new caring, sharing environment designed to make criminals feel more at home? Will the controversial incentive of televisions in cells keep the inmates away from drugs?
Finally, the Chief Inspector returns and, for the first time, is filmed as he tries to discover from the prisoners if life has really changed for the better in Wandsworth. Will the Governor and the Prison survive?
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