21/05/2016 Reporters - Short Edition


21/05/2016

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I'm Ben Bland and from here, in the world's

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newsroom, we sent our correspondents to bring

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you the best stories from

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In this week's programme: inside one of Europe's

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Ed Thomas gets exclusive access to Wandsworth in

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south London where overcrowding, drugs, violence and corruption are

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among the challenges facing the Prison Service.

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It's so short-staffed in here, this place

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Even a lot of the staff here are in fear.

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And finding the dolphins of the Ganges.

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Justin Rollins discovers the elusive creatures are surviving despite all

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I never expected to see anything like as many dolphins

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And it's such incredibly good news because what it

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tells us is that this river is capable of supporting these

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The British government is promising the biggest

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shake-up since Victorian times of the prison system in England and

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The move comes as concerns about safety standards have

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The Chief Inspector of Prisons has said too many jails are

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Under the plans, six prisons will be overhauled.

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Ed Thomas has spent the

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last week at one of them, Wandsworth prison in south London, where

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overcrowding, drugs and violence are rife.

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The BBC has been given unprecedented access inside a

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Over seven days, we saw the fear and violence.

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You've got to be able to defend yourself.

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If you can't defend yourself, then you will

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And the prison officers pushed to the very edge.

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I think I'm probably the most stressed

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A prisoner has refused to go back to his cell.

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20 years ago, the inmate in the middle of all of this

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We can't identify him but he told us he was trapped in a

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I've had warfare with politics in jail.

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I got sliced down the side of the face.

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I've had my arm broken, I've got three broken bones

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I've had murders in here left, right and centre.

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And I've gone to them and said, look, at the

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end of the day, you are putting me in a predicament where I have no

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alternative but to utilise violence for my safety.

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And with the greatest of respect, they are so

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short-staffed in here, this place can't run, it's unsafe.

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Even a lot of the staff that are in here are in

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Lads, that smell of cannabis is really...

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Next, B Wing, and the smell of cannabis is everywhere.

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And then we see it, a group smoking below us, in full view.

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How do you feel about people smoking cannabis is out there?

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Imagine they can't get it next week, there are going to be fights

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Where can you get cannabis from around here?

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If you want cannabis, I can get you some.

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It defeats everything that we're trying

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You don't have to look far to find drugs in

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He says all drugs are available at all

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You can get spice, you can get heroin, you can get crack, you

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Right now, all you've got to do is go down to the twos, to the

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threes, to the ones, everything is there, anything you like.

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Then there is that alcohol brewed in cells.

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And the mobile phones, too, all smuggled into Wandsworth.

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For a smartphone, ?700 they go for, retail price.

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This prisoner asked us not to show his face.

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Are you just saying that, though, to get officers in trouble?

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I know officers that charge you ?500 a parcel the size of, say,

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three tennis balls full of drugs, phones, whatever you want.

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The BBC was invited here to hear the stories, to see the

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pressure from a governor who is demanding change.

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Corruption is the one thing that I absolutely cannot

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One of the first things we would do with reform is to think

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very carefully about how do we deal with those

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issues of corruption and

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what do we do to tackle those staff bringing those drugs in because that

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will deal with some of the issues that you have highlighted and that

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But how long will this prison reform take? The pressure inside is

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building now and officers are getting hurt. At the moment, he has

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been the victim of an assault. If she could, she would have be out the

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job. For Andy, it cannot get any worse. It's because I care, I want

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to make a difference, I believe my staff want to make a difference. We

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are struggling, we haven't got the staff. I do think people care.

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People don't care about my long-term health. I think I'm probably the

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most stressed I been in 24 years in this job. What will happen to you?

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If I'm like my colleagues, when I retire, I will die. Desperately

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reform now. This prison revolution promised to fix broken jails and so

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many broken lives. India has launched an ambitious $3 billion

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programme to clean up the Ganges, India's greatest and most sacred

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river. It's a huge challenge not least because the river is a sewer

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carrying away waste from 450 billion people but they are also home to

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rare dolphin which somehow survives despite all the pollution. Justin

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has been out along the river in search of the elusive creatures.

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Farrah Naseem is the holiest city in all of India. But just take a look

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at this. It is also a huge source of pollution. The ancient practices of

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Riverside cremation one tiny part of it. A far bigger problem is the

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waste of the living. We can only treat third of the sewage. The city

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generates more than 300 million litres of waste and 100 million

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litres are treated. The rest go straight into the Ganges. Figures

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elsewhere on the river I even worse. Independent study show 80% of sewage

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is untreated. The government says it plans to build massive new waste

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treatment infrastructure. Environmentalists say it can't come

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soon enough for at least one key species. We have come down to the

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Ganges and the hope was we might be able to spot the incredibly rare

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dolphin and incredibly, within minutes of arriving here, I saw the

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dorsal fin of one of them break the water. The real challenge I think

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will be filming them. We have hired a little boat, this is it. And this

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is the cameraman. How difficult will it be to film the Dolphins? It's

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tough. They pop-out suddenly. You are an expert on the Dolphins here.

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One of the programmes is to protect this rare animal. How rare is the

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dolphin now? It's an endangered species and it's pretty rare to spot

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these animals. But today, there seemed to be Dolphins all around us.

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Six, seven! They have to surface every two minutes or so to breathe.

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The challenge is getting where they will be. But after a bit, Sanjay

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gets his eye in and look at this. This has been extraordinary. I never

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expected to see anything like as many Dolphins as we have seen and

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it's such incredibly good news because what it tells us is this

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river is capable of supporting these wonderful animals. It also shows us

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what's at stake, why it's so important that the Indian

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government's efforts to clean up river succeed.

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And that's all from us for this week. Goodbye for now.

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A weekly programme of stories filed by BBC reporters from all over the world, ranging from analyses of major global issues to personal reflections and anecdotes.


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