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The Politics of Exclusion and Contestation Involving Gypsies and Travellers

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This article begins by presenting statistics that show clearly that Gypsies, Romani and Irish Travellers are highly over-represented in British jails. This class of people who form less than 0.1% of the population of Britain are 5% of the prison population is alarming. This shows that they are excluded because they are seen as a menace to society and as such, the society has chosen to keep them in prison to prevent them from integrating any further into the British society. The writer presents other evidence like the life expectancy of these people being 12 years below the national average amongst other indicators.

The writer, therefore, puts forward some suggestions on how to improve the integration of these people into mainstream British society. They identify that the British society will have to invest more in education in these communities so that the children of such Gypsies will get the chance to learn, gain an education and become important members of the society who can carry out their activities. The writer also identifies that the prisons are not well equipped to help the incarcerated Gypsies and Travellers to learn basic elements and aspects of literacy.

Hence, these people go to jail and they learn nothing new. Unlike the United States where prisoners can learn basic skills and vocations, the Gypsy and Traveller population of prisoners in Britain get little or no education in prison. Hence, they come back from jail with no ability to earn money in an honest manner. They, therefore, get into a cycle of reoffending and go back into jail. This marks a process whereby Gypsies and Travellers are always put in jail and they fail to make any reasonable impact on life because they are generally excluded.

Exclusion and contestation in this part of British society indicate that people are not allowed to settle or integrate into any particular society. Rather, they turn to a life of crime because they do not get an education. Hence, the article is asking for more contestation of the existing framework through the creation of measures that will allow the Gypsy and Traveller population to earn an honest living and build a better life that will be socially more stable.

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